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The Social and the Symbolic

The Social and the Symbolic
Volume II

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

Volume: 2
Other Titles in:
Mass Communication Theory

March 2007 | 482 pages | SAGE Publications Pvt. Ltd
This book argues that communication – an exchange of symbols – is the essence of society and that this exchange is the foundation on which the human collective is based. It explores how the collective sense of the self is defined either with reference to, or in defiance of, dominant existing traditions. The various essays highlight the links between culture studies and the use of communication in binding together a community as also to provide a voice to the unheard and the unsung.

Beginning by describing the pertinence of communication to grasping the overall substance of social reality, the volume is divided into the following three parts:

- Forms of self-identity: This section looks at the emergence and construction of personal and collective identities through myths, religious idioms, stories and traditions of marginalized communities.

- Grounds of work relations: Here, the contributors focus on occupations and vocations of the peasant and artisan communities of western India.

- Bonds of health practices: The focus of this section is on healthcare practices and knowledge of traditional communities.

The second in a three-volume series titled Communication Processes, this book will be of considerable interest to scholars of communication and media studies, oral studies as also social workers dealing with health practices.

Overture: Recasting 'the Social' as 'the Symbolic'

Bernard Bel, Jan Brouwer, Biswajit Das, Vibodh Parthasarathi and Guy Poitevin
Negotiating Modernity with Symbolic Resources

Guy Poitevin
Symbolic Facets of Medical Power

Bernard Bel
Avenues of Expression

The Minas: Seeking a Place in History

Nandini Sinha Kapur
Quests for Assertion

Vadar Narratives: Dramatic Reappropriation of a Myth

Datta Shinde
Mang Narratives: Semantic Reappropriation of a Myth

Sanjay Jogdanda
Bhakti: A Faith for Rehabilitation

Guy Poitevin and Hema Rairkar
Introduction: Faculties of Correlation Editors

Integrative Links of 'the Traditional'

The Communicating Goddess of the Artisans

Jan Brouwer
The Mother Earth of the Mawal Peasant

Baban Khandbhor and Prabhakar Ghare
Disruptive Challenges of 'the Modern'

Vadar Communities: Traditional Skills in Changing Times

Datta Shinde
Parit Communities: Occupation and Survival

Suresh Kokate
Introduction: Symbolic Forms and Signs

Guy Poitevin
Between Yesterday and Today

The Slum Dwellers of Chennai: Indigenous Health Practices

S A Samy
The Vaidu: Traditional Practices and Social Status

Chandrakant Kokate
Inheritance of Knowledge

Birth Attendants: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Bernard Bel and Andréine Bel
Popular Culture and Childbirth: Perceptions and Practices in Rural Rajasthan

Tulsi Patel
Midwives: A Tradition on the Move in Maharashtra

Hema Rairkar
In Lieu of an Epilogue Editors


This book argues that communication, an exchange of symbols, is the essence of society and that this exchange is the foundation on which the human collective is based…. The various essays highlight the links between culture studies and the use of communication in binding together a community as also to provide a voice to the unheard and the unsung.

The Times of India

In The Social and the Symbolic, the authors have successfully brought to the fore the symbolic ordering in communication processes that is going among and across societies to reveal the various facets of social life. …The book is a laudable effort by the editors to present a methodical model to understand the social reality by analysing communication process in the society. The essays reflect upon the social, political, economic and medical aspects of social life and provide deep insights into their symbolic foundations to reach at the comprehensive understanding of the social system in which they are grounded. A serious reading of the book would be a reader’s delight.

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ISBN: 9780761934462

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