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Guest Talk Prof Thanuja Mummidi

Relatedness and the commons among the Konda Reddis, south India


1 July 2019, 18.00, Room L-155
Institut für Ethnologie
Oettingenstrasse 67

Prof. Dr. Thanuja Mummidi (Pondicherry University):

Relatedness and the commons among the Konda Reddis, south India

The paper focuses on the Konda Reddis (Andhra Pradesh state in south India), who since 1980 have been classified by the State, as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG). The Konda Reddis live in the semi-deciduous forested hills practicing shifting cultivation. This hill territory which includes the forest, shifting cultivation plots with the fallows and the village are ‘owned’ collectively by the Konda Reddis. How do the Konda Reddis collectively use their hill resource for the making of the village and their livelihood, is the question this paper probes? Here I look at how the Konda Reddis relate themselves, on the basis of which they share and allocate the use of the hill resources. I look at the spatial allocation of resources and arrangement of the hill settlements. Who occupies these settlements? Is there a pattern of relatedness, and what is its role in the management of the common resource? The paper shows how the Konda Reddi practice of alliance and residence rules accommodate a sharing of resources across many descent groups. Here I discuss the different categories of relatedness, which include the kulam, kutumbam, and the gumpu.
The paper engages with the theoretical directions on ‘new kinship’ (Carsten, 2000) and agrees with Hardenberg (2009) to the use of classical-formal approaches to the study of kinship combined with the new kinship approaches of relatedness. The paper also draws its theoretical influence from Godelier (1975).

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