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Ethnic Life-worlds in North-East India

An Analysis

Ethnic Life-worlds in North-East India by Prasenjit Biswas
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Ethnic Life-worlds in North-East India: An Analysis draws upon the phenomenological
notion of the life-world to understand the culturally-embedded construction of
communities, for whom the lived experience of cultural politics constitutes their
identity. It analyses the cultural and political determinants of ethnic- and identity-oriented
struggles in India’s North-East, as well as the cultural politics of ethnic
mobilizations in the region.

Such mobilizations are an attempt to construct a self-identity distinct from
that constructed by the state—both colonial and post-colonial India—which
becomes a source of concern for the latter with regard to its achieving legitimacy
and development in the region. While both the state and insurgent groups carve
out their distinct ideological and political agenda on to the life-world of
the North-East, it is at the point of diversion that the struggle for establishing
such agenda falls into the trappings of constitutional determinism.

This book analyses the articulation of ethnic politics in North-East India
that takes into account moves for integration as well as apparent differences.
In doing so, it critically examines two major insurgent outfits of the region—NSCN
and ULFA. It also discusses struggles launched by the Naga and Assamese people
and develops a neologism of nations-from-below, arguing that one needs to take
into account the concrete totality of the people’s lived experiences. It
bases this analysis on a critical discussion of the colonial construction of
tribal identity and its post-colonial critique.

Thought-provoking and analytical, this book opens a new window to the study
of India’s North-East, which will intrigue students and scholars across
various disciplines of development studies, sociology, philosophy, anthropology,
political science and ethnic studies, and will be of interest to policy-makers,
NGOs and global humanitarian communities.

SAGE India; January 2008
313 pages; ISBN 9788178299921
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Title: Ethnic Life-worlds in North-East India
Author: Prasenjit Biswas; Chandan Suklabaidya