Social anthropology now takes to the study of village and peasant societies – Essay

Thus, the new dimension of social anthropol­ogy both in India and outside contained village studies. Hence, in the current perspective, the scope and subject matter of social anthropol­ogy includes the study of villages.

Along with rural studies, tribal studies also increased in number. Accounting for the increase in tribal studies as a scope and subject matter of social anthropology, Sachchidananda writes in the Trend Re­ports of1969-1979:

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This is on account of the fact that a large number of institutions in which social anthropologists work entered the stage of making fruit­ful contributions to anthropological studies. The largest contribution has been made by the Anthropological Survey of India which has the distinction of employing the largest number of anthro­pologists in the country.

The Tribal Research Institutes, which have come up, have recently produced some significant studies along with the life and culture of Indian tribal communities. The departments of anthropology in various universities not only promoted serious field- work by their students but also encouraged writing of doctoral dissertations on subjects bearing on Indian tribes.

The scope of social anthropology also included ethnography be­sides tribal studies. The new dimension of tribal studies encompassed the study of tribal economy, tribal religion, tribal political structure and the changing scene. What is important about the tribal studies made under the banner of social anthropology is the generation of some concepts.

The concepts are several, the important and signifi­cant; e.g., little community, dominant caste, village unity, sanskritization, westernization, little and great traditions and paro- chialization. The generation of a conceptual framework through village studies has enriched the scope and subject matter of social an­thropology.