You are here


Two Views of Social Change in Rural India

First Edition

February 2014 | 468 pages | SAGE India
Poverty in rural India: Is this a permanent condition? Are villagers immobilized by a rigid caste system, limited resources and economic exploitation? This book is about villagers who have done remarkable things with their lives—people who have broken the constraints of poverty and inequality to become innovative and mobile. It is written partly by one villager who found a career doing research on social change. 
Inside–Outside narrates stories of grassroots change and innovation. These stories are discussed from the combined view of an insider (Baviskar), who grew up in a village in western India, and an outsider (Attwood), who came to study social change in the same region. Telling life stories from people who taught and surprised them, they challenge common stereotypes about Indian villagers—stereotypes of passivity, fatalism, and stagnation. 
Baviskar’s life and experience of change in his home village exemplify grassroots initiative and innovation. He was born as the son of an impoverished farmer in a drought-stricken village in western Maharashtra. Ability, hard work, and some dramatic twists of fate enabled him to attend college and then complete a doctorate in India’s premier sociology department. In contrast to Baviskar, Attwood is a complete outsider, having grown up in a suburb near Chicago, in the US heartland. He stumbled into anthropology and spent several years in India, doing fieldwork in the region where Baviskar grew up. The two met in 1969; they became friends and began four decades of collaborative research. 
Here they tell the stories of villagers who changed their own lives and who also, in many cases, changed the lives of others. These stories describe rapid innovation and institution-building in the countryside, challenging an array of common stereotypes about village life in India. Seeking explanations for change, it helps to look at village life from many angles. Inside and outside views are complementary and provide a more complete picture.
Inside the Family (Pilkhod)
Inside the Village (Pilkhod)
High School (Chalisgaon)
College and University (Pune and Delhi)
Early Days (Oak Park)
Attwoods and Allied Families (USA)
Leaving Home (Deep Springs, Berkeley, Chicago)
Outsider in India (Bichpuri)
Marriage Out (Chalisgaon, Pune, Delhi)
Discovering Sociology (Delhi)
Fieldwork Back Home (Kopargaon Sugar Factory)
How I Returned to India (Pune District)
I Was Misinformed (Malegaon Village)
Villagers as Agents of History (Nira Valley)
Outsider in Sanjaya Village (Gujarat)
Outside and Inside the Family (Pilkhod)
Cooperation and Controversy
Villager Sociology, Economic Inequality, and Poverty
Caste Barriers to Initiative and Innovation
Points of View

The book favours comparative social research that communicates across cultural boundaries and encourages objective research by removing blind spots and biases...provides details of extensive research work in cooperatives and can serve as reference by sociologists and anthropologists in India and elsewhere. A very useful book for those involved in management of public administration.

The Tribune

An unusual compilation...based on the reflections on the structure of and changes in the social life of rural India.

Frontline, 26 December 2014

The authors’ autobiographical narratives and fieldwork experiences are pointers to the sensitive and sensible issues that young researchers in agrarian sociology and development studies must attend to. The book is full of insightful observations and hence it will be quite useful not only for those who look forward to follow the path the two authors have traversed but also for all students and faculty of sociology and social anthropology.


Contribution to Indian Sociology,
Volume 50 (Issue 2), June 2016

Both the authors of the book have soaked themselves in the facts of events and the lives of people…. The book, which is in part a biographical account and in part a research study, is enriching because of a close examination of facts and lives of people…such innovation by the authors marks a change.

Social Change,
Vol 46 (Issue 4), December 2016

B. S. Baviskar

B S Baviskar was born in 1930 and grew up in Pilkhod village, Jalgaon District, Maharashtra. His father was a small farmer. After five years of primary school in Pilkhod, he attended high school in Chalisgaon, the nearest market town. He went on to complete a BA at Fergusson College in Pune and an MA in economics at the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi. He then joined the new Department of Sociology, where he studied under M.N. Srinivas and M.S.A. Rao, two giants in the field.For his PhD research, he pioneered the study of cooperatives in India. While many of his peers focused on village studies, he recognized the importance... More About Author

D. W. Attwood

D W Attwood is an emeritus professor at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. Since retiring from McGill, Attwood has worked full time on this book. Now he is assembling a portfolio of photographs of people in Malegaon and Supe villages and exploring some over¬looked aspects of the history of the Bombay Deccan during the late colonial period. He was born in 1943 and raised in the village of Oak Park, a Chicago suburb with good public schools (meaning tax-funded schools open to all village children). School attendance was mandatory by state law. Attwood then attended Deep Springs, a small, private junior college in eastern California and... More About Author

Purchasing options

Please select a format:

ISBN: 9788132113508