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Demmer, Ulrich (2014): The Poetics and Politics of Practical Reason Indigenous Identity, Ritual Discourse, and the Postcolonial State in the Northern Nilgiris (South India). In: Asian Ethnology, Vol. 73, No. 1-2: pp. 111-137
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Abstract

This article explores how in the northern Nilgiris of South India the postcolonial state and indigenous adivasi communities imagine, perform, and negotiate ideas of a good life in ritual and political discourse, that is, how they articulate practical reason. I analyze the politics of ethics and how indigenous Jenu Kurumba and Sholega adivasi groups on the one hand and the state of Tamil Nadu on the other construct and perform their identity with respect to moral ontologies and ideas of a good life. The postcolonial Nilgiris thus appear as a political field where various articulations of ethical worlds compete with and challenge one another, while at the same time the collective actors seek to gain hegemony over other imaginations of a good life.