ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

33 – Transmitting know-how in a shifting world – the case of contemporary India

India has been rapidly changing since the 1991 liberalisation reforms. During this economic transition, complex and hybrid re-configurations of tradition, modernity, postmodernity have arisen, expressed in various domains.

Convenors

Barbara Čurda - UCA (Université Clermont Auvergne, France), laboratoire ACTé (EA4281), France, + IFP (Institut Français de Pondichéry), Pondicherry , India
Delphine Thivet - IFP (Institut Français de Pondichéry), UMIFRE 21 CNRS-MEAE & USR 3330 “Savoirs et Mondes Indiens” CNRS , Pondicherry , India
Nicolas Bautès - Université de Caen Normandie, UMR CNRS 6590 "Espaces et Sociétés", France.

Long Abstract

India has been rapidly changing since the 1991 liberalisation reforms. During this economic transition, complex and hybrid re-configurations of tradition, modernity, postmodernity have arisen, expressed in various domains. This affected many forms of knowledge, know-how, skill, apprehended as traditional, engaging agricultural, artisanal, artistic, medical, ritual and other practices. The transmission of some of them from generation to generation, by indigenous and local communities, has been forgotten, neglected or undervalued. Others have resisted, transformed, adapted themselves, not only to fit the neoliberal regime of labour and its associated principles, but also to new imperatives – among them, the environment.

Focusing on post-liberalisation India, this panel intends to give an insight into how traditional knowledge and know-how, both as discursive category and as practice, is produced, negotiated, maintained, politicized, reinvented. It proposes particularly to explore the various social structures and moral relations in which the transmission of such practices is embedded. Who benefits from the transmission processes, who is excluded? How do social actors engage with the past? What legacies do they leave behind? The transformation, mediation and transmission of know-hows are indeed shaped by different social actors, implicit relations of power and specific cast, gender and generational hierarchies. Such processes generate new opportunities for some social groups, but they also provoke relegation and are sometimes refuted.

Beyond categories and domains of expressions, we wish to foster an interdisciplinary debate through case studies based on contemporary India.