257 Pages
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Men and Masculinities in South India


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257 Pages


An anthropological study of South Asian masculinities.

'Men and Masculinities in South India' aims to increase understanding of gender within South Asia and especially South Asian masculinities, a topic whose analysis and ethnographising in the region has had a very sketchy beginning and is ripe for more thorough examination.

Preface; Acknoledgements; 1. Introduction: Masculinites in South Asia; 2. How to Make a Man?; 3. Working Men's Lives; 4. Men of Substance: Earning and Spending; 5. Producing Heterosexuality: Flirting and Romancing; 6. Negotiating Heterosexuality: Pornography, Masturbation and 'Secret Love'; 7. Homosocial Spaces: The Sabarimala Pilgrimage; 8. Masculine Styles: Young Men and Movie Heroes; 9. Conclusions; Glossary; Bibliography;  Index



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Published 01 September 2006
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EAN13 9781843313991
Language English
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Men and Masculinities in South India
Anthem South Asian Studies
Series Editor: Crispin Bates Fraser, Bashabi (ed.)Bengal Partition Stories(2006) Chattopadhyaya, BrajStudying Early India(2006) Chatterjee, Partha and Ghosh, Anjan (eds.)History and the Present(2006) Bates, Crispin and Basu, Subho (eds.)Rethinking Indian Political Institutions(2005) Brosius, ChristianaEmpowering Visions(2005) Mills, Jim (ed.)Subaltern Sports(2005) Joshi, ChitraLost Worlds: Indian Labour and its Forgotten Histories(2005) Dasgupta, BiplabEuropean Trade and Colonial Conquests(2005) Kaur, RaminderPerformative Politics and the Cultures of Hinduism(2005) Rosenstein, LucyNew Poetry in Hindi(2004) Shah, GhanshyamCaste and Democratic Politics in India(2004) Van Schendel, WillemThe Bengal Borderland: Beyond State and Nation in South Asia(2004)
Men and Masculinities in South India
Caroline and Filippo Osella
Anthem Press An imprint of Wimbledon Publishing Company
This edition first published in UK and U.S.A. 2006 by ANTHEM PRESS 7576 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8HA, UK or PO Box 9779, London SW19 7ZG, UK and 244 Madison Ave. #116, New York, NY 10016, U.S.A.
Caroline and Filippo Osella © 2006
The moral right of the authors has been asserted.
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested.
The publisher and authors have made every attempt to gain permission for material used in this publication. If you have any issues or queries regarding this matter, please contact the publisher.
1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
ISBN 1 84331 232 8 (Hbk)
ISBN–13 978 1 84331 232 1 (Hbk)
Cover photograph: Courtesy of the authors
Printed in Singapore
Preface/Acknowledgements 1.Introduction: Masculinities in South Asia 2.How to Make a Man? 3.Working Men’s Lives 4.Men of Substance: Earning and Spending 5.Producing Heterosexuality: Flirting and Romancing 6.Negotiating Heterosexuality: Pornography, Masturbation and ‘Secret Love’ 7.Homosocial Spaces: The Sabarimala Pilgrimage 8.Masculine Styles: Young Men and Movie Heroes 9.Conclusions Glossary Bibliography Index
Page vii 1 29 53 77 99
119 143 169 203 213 219 239
This book is based upon several lengthy periods of joint fieldwork in a rural paddy-growing area of central Kerala (thepanchayat, ‘Valiyagramam’) and some short fieldworks in Kerala’s state capital, Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) from 1989 to 2002. We have been indebted over the years to several agencies, which have funded the research: the Economic and Social Science Research Council of Great Britain; the Nuffield Foundation; The Leverhulme Trust; the Wenner-Gren Foundation; the Society for South Asian Studies; and to our home institutions—the University of Sussex and SOAS, London. Parts of this manuscript have been read and commented upon by Radhika Chopra, Shilpa Phadke, Sanjay Srivastava and Muraleedharan Tharayil—we are grateful to all. Thanks to Mahalakshmi Mahadevan for copy editing and some thoughtful comments. As ever, heartfelt thanks to our long-time friend Thampi Chandrasekhar for all his help. Note on transliteration: in line with increasing informality in transliterating Indian languages (partly due to the decline of the Indological influence on anthropology), we have asked our copy editor Mahalakshmi Mahadevan to transcribe Malayalam terms into their commonly used naturalistic Anglicized forms, which will be easily readable by anyone familiar with a Dravidian language. Thus, meesha will be more recognisable than mīśa. Versions of some of this material have been published earlier. For their gracious permission to republish parts of articles or book chapters, we thank the following:
Women Unlimited for:
Osella, C. and Osella, F. 2004. ‘Malayali Young Men and Their Movie Heroes’. In Chopra Radhika, Caroline Osella and Filippo Osella (eds.) Masculinities in South Asia, Kali for Women/Women Unlimited, Delhi.
viiiBENGAL PARTITION STORIES Cambridge University Press for: Osella, F. and Osella, C. 1999. ‘From Transience to Immanence: Consumption, Life Cycle and Social Mobility in Kerala, South India’. Modern Asian Studies, vol. 33, no. 4: 989–1020.
Blackwell Publishers for:
Osella C and Osella F. 1998. ‘On Flirting and Friendship: Micro-politics in a Hierarchical Society’.The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (incorporating Man) Vol 4, no. 2: 189–206. Osella, F. and Osella, C. 2000. ‘Migration, Money and Masculinity in Kerala’.The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 6, no. 1: 115– 131. Osella, F, and Osella, C. 2003. ‘“Ayyappan Saranam”: Masculinity and the Sabarimala Pilgrimage in Kerala’.The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 9, no. 4: 729–754. Osella, F. and Osella, C. 2006. ‘Once Upon a Time in the West? Stories of Migration and Modernity from Kerala, South India’.The Journal of the Anthropological Institute(n.s.) 12:567–586.
Curzon Press for:
Osella, C. and Osella, F. 2001. ‘Contextualising Sexuality: Young Men in Kerala, South India’. In Manderson Lenore and P.L. Rice (eds.)Coming of Age in South and Southeast Asia: Youth, Courtship and Sexuality.
This one’s for you, kids! To our daughter Anna and our son Gabriele, with love and apologies for all the working weekends. We hope the trips to India make up for it.