Changing Meanings of Authority in Contemporary Rural India

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Abstract

The article explores political meanings in the context of recent economic and political changes in a village in south India. Cultural constructions of political relations emerged in conversations between the author and village informants in Andhra Pradesh. Informants perceived decline in the power and authority of former village lords and talked about the establishment of authority in the new setting. In processes of democratization which had taken place, showing and receiving honor and respect continued as political and social preoccupations. However, deserving honor and respect has become less a statement about political superiority and domination and more about individual moral qualities.

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