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Title: Problematizing received categories: Revisiting 'folk Hinduism' and 'Sanskritization'
Authors: Sinha, V. 
Keywords: Diaspora
Folk Hinduism
Issue Date: Jan-2006
Citation: Sinha, V. (2006-01). Problematizing received categories: Revisiting 'folk Hinduism' and 'Sanskritization'. Current Sociology 54 (1) : 98-111+149. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: In this article, the author's objective is to problematize a number of categories that constitute the intellectual heritage of students of Hinduism. Social science approaches to analysing Indian society, including religion in general, and Hinduism, in particular, have generated an anthology of sense-making tools - a body of categories, concepts, schemas and dichotomies. It is instructive to ask if these received categories continue to be appropriate. The author embarks on such questioning by focusing on the categories 'folk Hinduism' and 'Sanskritization'. These have been pivotal in sociological and anthropological accounts of India and continue to provide an analytical framework for studying Hinduism today. Yet, these categories have been neither historicized sufficiently nor received rigorous, intellectual attention, but continue to be accepted rather uncritically. The categories 'folk Hinduism' and 'Sanskritization' share a historical and analytical relationship and thus must be appraised jointly. In these discussions, it is also important to historicize the category 'folk' and assess its conceptual utility. The author's approach here is to deconstruct these categories utilizing ethnography to raise questions about the continued value of using the named categories for making sense of empirical, everyday manifestations of 'Hinduism' in contemporary societies, especially among Hindu communities in the diaspora.
Source Title: Current Sociology
ISSN: 00113921
DOI: 10.1177/0011392106058836
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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