Research: DFG-Project Arunachal Pradesh
Between Tibetanization and Tribalization: Towards a New Anthropology of Tibeto-Burman Highlanders in Arunachal Pradesh
Projektleiter: Prof. Dr. Toni Huber:
This project addresses one of the most significant and enduring deficits in the anthropology of Tibeto-Burmann speaking societies, namely the lack of research on highland populations dwelling along the southeastern margins of the Tibetan Plateau. The specific research goal is a contribution of new anthropological knowledge by the way of an ethnographic and ethno-historical study of a previously undocumented Tibeto-Burman highland society. The results will yield the first scientific description of the Mra-Na clan cluster of the Subansiri district in Arunachal Pradesh, one of various groups throughout this region who rank among the least known societies in Asia. The project´s general goal is to begin building a reliable ethnographic basis for analysis of the social and cultural status of higland populations dwelling in the unresearched mountain zone betwenn eastern Bhutan and northern Burma(Myanmar). Rejecting the notion of such societies being isolated, this research seeks instead to understand them as key intermediaries between the Tibetan plateau and lower hill regions, and as transitional actors who not only negotiate between very different, social, cultural and physical environments, but who have also been transformed by them. The results will broaden critical analysis of the nature of interactions and exchanges between Tibetan plateau dwellers and their highland neighbours in terms of the process known as Tibetanization, which has so far been limited to the anthropology of Neapal. The research will also investigate very recent processes of "tribalization" in this region, that is, the externally generated classification and incorporation of many such highland societies as so-called Scheduled Tribes within the modern Indian state, and the social consequences this has had.
last update : 05 December 2011