The purpose of this course is to introduce you to social sciences’ qualitative methods of enquiry. Starting with the rules of observation and description and ending with the techniques of interpretation of collected information, this course will cover the various steps a scholar canonically follows to do research: from the formulation of a research question to defining a problematic, from collecting secondary sources to conducting first field observations, from drawing a research design to do fieldwork and conduct interviews, to analyze the material collected to finally writing. The main outcome of this course is the writing of a full-fledged research paper.
This course also aims at introducing you to two streams of scholarship. One from the past: village studies, or a questioning about rural or agrarian change in India. One more contemporary: the anthropology of politics. India’s villages remain often portrayed as immutable locations, disconnected from the forces of change that are reshaping India. Far from the truth, India’s villages are undergoing profound transformations, altering or reconfiguring social relations between individuals and communities. We will revisit some of the classic work in India’s village studies, and notably the contributions of one of India’s most eminent sociologist, M.N. Srinivas.