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Communication, Culture and Confrontation

Communication, Culture and Confrontation

First Edition
Edited by:
  • Bernard Bel - French National Centre for Scientific Research
  • Jan Brouwer - Centre for Advanced Research on Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Mysore
  • Biswajit Das - Centre for Culture, Media and Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
  • Vibodh Parthasarathi - Centre for Culture, Media & Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
  • Guy Poitevin - Late of Centre for Cooperative Research in Social Sciences, Pune

December 2009 | 500 pages | SAGE India

The Third Volume in the series Communication Processes engages in understanding processes of communication in relation to cultural configurations and contending forces that permeate them. Moving away from the conceptual reduction of communication to the technological metaphors of 'transportation' and 'transmission', the Communication Processes series undertakes discourse involving multiple voices, bringing together academic and grassroot viewpoints. The present book explores another level of analysis in which forms, ways and media of communication appear in connection with the cultures of communicators and their audiences.

This volume is positioned at the interface of culture and communication—exploring ways in which interaction, negotiations, and even conflicts are voiced. It re-examines our conception of culture to show that communities cannot be divided into polarities such as 'elite and popular' or 'dominant and subaltern'—establishing that such clear divisions cannot exist in society. Culture is therefore perceived as a field of contending forces: a milieu of exchange, encounter, confrontation, and possibly conflict

The volume argues that cultural configurations display themselves as evaluative forms of social communication, weaving human beings into collectives, and binding these collectives with one another, all permeated with the power parameter. It identifies seven different cultural forms such as rituals, narratives and songs, and discusses 18 case studies to suggest a complex model of cultural communication. It also discusses popular culture as the site of struggle between forces of dominant and subordinate communities.

Introduction: Remoulding the 'Cultural' as the 'Contentious'

Bernard Bel, Jan Brouwer, Biswajit Das, Vibodh Parthasarathi, Guy Poitevin
I: CONFLICTING STAKES: Introduction Editors
From the Popular to the People

Guy Poitevin
Interventionist Tendencies in Popular Culture

Vibodh Parthasarathi
The Indian Legal System: A Unique Combination of Traditions, Practices and Modern Values

Karine Bates
II: POWER OF ORALITY: Introduction Editors
Terrains of Rejuvenation

The Donkey: A Mirror of Self-identification

Guy Poitevin
Memory and Social Protest

Badri Narayan
Say It in Singing! Prosodic Patterns and Rhetorics in the Performance of Grindmill Songs

Bernard Bel, Geneviève Caelen-Haumont and Hema Rairkar
Assets of Dissent

Grindmill Songs: A Reference of Autonomous Self-insight

Hema Rairkar
From Grindmill Songs to Cultural Action

Tara Ubhe
A Reactivated Performance Capacity

Kusum Sonavne
Scenarios of Stress

Folk Arts and Folk Artists: Myths and Realities

P J Amala Dos
Scenarios of Appropriation

Resisting Colonial Modernity

Premchand's Rangabhoomi and Shashi Bhushan Upadhyay
Street Theatre in Maharashtra

Hema Rairkar
Action Theatre in Belgium

Paul Biot
Intruding Orders

Ephemera, Communication and the Quest for Power: Hindutva in Uttar Pradesh

Jayati Chaturvedi and Gyaneshwar Chaturvedi
The Ritual Management of Desire in Indian Bazaar Art

Kajri Jain
Contending Idioms

On the Way to Pandhari

Jitendra Maid and Guy Poitevin
The Famous Invincible Darkies

Denis-Constant Martin
Epilogue Editors


The volume which assembles a wide range of scholarly works that posit problematic yet convincing arguments towards a complete understanding of the concepts of culture, communication, and conflicts would be a useful resource for students and scholars of contemporary politics, media and society.

The Book Review

This well-researched third volume in the series coming after the first two whose focus has been on the media, techniques and relations of communication is a good reference book for not only students pursuing disciplines of sociology, communication arts and culture but also to the faculty involved in teaching these subjects.


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Bernard Bel

Bernard Bel is a research engineer currently working at Laboratoire Parole et Langage, Université de Provence, a speech research laboratory of the French National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris. Earlier, he was a member of the Groupe Intelligence Artificielle, Marseille II University. Between 1994 and 1998, he was deputed to Centre de Sciences Humaines (CSH), New Delhi, to carry on projects in musicology and sociocultural anthropology. He has published numerous articles on both subjects and is currently involved in social activism for an improvement of birth practices in French-speaking countries, both as the webmaster of the... More About Author

Jan Brouwer

Jan Brouwer recently retired as Professor of Cultural Anthropology from the North-Eastern Hill University in Shillong. He is presently Professor of Anthropology at the University School of Design, University of Mysore and Honorary Director at the Centre for Advanced Research on Indigenous Knowledge Systems (CARIKS), Mysore. He has many published works to his credit and is currently working on the concept of autonomy and death as a social relation. More About Author

Biswajit Das

Biswajit Das is Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He has over two decades of teaching experience and specialized research in communication studies, during which he was also a visiting fellow at the Universities of Windsor, Canada and Hawaii, USA. His research has been supported by various foundations and institutions in India and abroad such as Indo-French Scholarship, Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies and the Charles Wallace Trust. More About Author

Vibodh Parthasarathi

Vibodh Parthasarathi, an independent communication theorist and policy consultant based in New Delhi, maintains an interest in the political economy of communication and comparative media practice. His work has gained support from the Charles Wallace India Trust, Charles Leopold Mayer Foundation, Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation, India Foundation for the Arts, and the Netherlands Fellowship Programme. He has also taught at government and private universities in India, besides dabbling in documentaries. ‘Crosscurrents—A Fijian Travelogue’, his last documentary, explored the many faces of ‘reconciliation’ after the decade of coups... More About Author

Guy Poitevin

Guy Poitevin (1934–2004) was born in Mayenne (France). After studying to become a priest and graduating in philosophy and theology, he taught for twelve years in a seminary in Western France. He settled in Pune in 1972 and later became a naturalized Indian citizen. Along with his wife Hema Rairkar, friends and associates, he set up the Village Community Development Association (VCDA, ttp:// in 1978 to support socio-cultural action in remote rural areas, and the Centre for Cooperative Research in Social Sciences (CCRSS, in 1980 for the purpose of carrying out theoretically related activities. Besides numerous... More About Author

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ISBN: 9789352809660

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