Exploring Gaddi Pluralities
An Introduction and Overview
This Introduction provides the first exhaustive overview of the range of ethnographic and historical research on Gaddis. Beginning with late 19th-century colonial efforts to pin down, in a manner characteristic of the period, the elusive structure of Gaddi society, we trace the trajectory of research in numerous Gaddi communities in western Himachal Pradesh over the last seventy years. We highlight several areas of substantial research at the intersection of politics, religion, gender and economy, and how these shape contemporary disputes about cultural identity. These disputes can be best summarized as the question: ‘Who counts as a Gaddi?’ Of course, the historic identity of Gaddis as the preeminent sheep and goat herding pastoralists of the region looms large, even as transhumant pastoralism itself declines, for herein lies the ideological roots of contemporary social divisions and exclusion. We also highlight how the diversity of ethnographic vantage points brought together in this Special Issue help to dispel lingering assumptions of Gaddi cultural and political uniformity across the region, as each in different ways illuminates the connections between Gaddis, their neighbors, and the state.
Copyright (c) 2023 Stephen Christopher, Peter Phillimore
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Please read our Open Access, Copyright and Permissions policies for more information.