Ds 150 Essay

2291 words - 9 pages

1Midterm #11) Explore if and how the inside/outside dichotomy (discussed by the authors who write of the Indian public) shows up or is reinvented, according to Snodgrass, in his account of the Udaipuri Bhats. You will be evaluated on your grasp of the concepts you discuss and on how you bring Snodgrass into conversation with the 'public sphere/space' authors.Snodgrass' account of the Udaipuri Bhats examines events leading up to the spiritual possession of Bedami, a young Bhat woman, and its effect on the community. Through his text, a dichotomy of an inside and outside within the community is revealed. The inside/outside dichotomy describes how the Indian cultural and social sphere is divided up into familiar or "our" space and the unfamiliar or "their" space. Whereas the "our" space is viewed as safe and orderly, the "their" space is viewed as risky and corrupt. To the Bhats, the inside or "our" space contains the members of the community and the outside or "their" space contains outsiders and people in the community who do not co-habituate with the others.In Snodgrass' account, this dichotomy is first introduced when he says that the Bhats believes that the cause of Bedami's possession is her husband's attitude toward money. Ramu, Bedami's husband, is a miser who does not like to spend on others and does not use his money to aid members of the community. The community believes his stinginess is due to the fact that he has entered the new market economy by obtaining a wage-earning job at a folklore institute. Ramu's modern way of earning a salary drives him to pursue life insurance and create personal savings that will only benefit him and his family instead of the entire community. By taking this modern approach Ramu has created the first rift between him and the others. The transition form traditional to modern is becoming more prevalent in India and serves as a base for Appadurai's definition of public culture. Appadurai believes that emerging "cosmopolitan cultural forms" (Appadurai: 39) creates public culture, which is what is happening in the Bhat community as Ramu's modern ways mixes with the traditional way of the other Bhats creating a new unknown public culture.Ramu can be identified as part of the outside because he refuses to conform to the community's rules of social behavior by contributing nothing to aid the community. Instead he adopts Western ideals, which Chaterjee suggests is a characteristic of the outside "material" world. The inside, according to Chaterjee, is a "spiritual" domain, which embraces more traditional Indian ideals and is governed by social interactions, which Ramu does not partake in. Ramu is said to have a commodity fetish where he identities people and goods by their monetary value. In doing so he simultaneously objectifies and devalues people. He sees no value in contributing to the community so he spends little to no money on community affairs. This upsets many people because they believe that he should...

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