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.
Bernard Bel is a research engineer currently working at Laboratoire Parole et Langage, Universite 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 Naissance portal http://naissance.ws and the secretary of Alliance Francophone pour l'Accouchement Respecte http:/ /www.afar.info. 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. 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. 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 in the tiny Pacific nation. His current research includes tracing the history of the music industry in twentieth century India. 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://vcda.ws) in 1978 to support socio-cultural action in remote rural areas, and the Centre for Cooperative Research in Social Sciences (CCRSS, http://ccrss.ws) in 1980 for the purpose of carrying out theoretically related activities. Besides numerous articles, he has written several books in English and French, including translated works from Marathi.