International Journal of Modern Anthropology

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Inescapable Reflexivity for Social Science Research in India for Now: A Personal Dialogue with the Lived Contexts of Anthropology

Arnab Das


This is a reflexively critical account of the lived practices particularly of anthropology that might stand broadly valid as well for other social science disciplines in most of the Indian Universities except a few elite ones. This is because the ways the dominant discourses of institutional learning in postcolonial India—more particularly of ‗science‘ disciplines—persist as foreign to and outside our everyday lived realities that their disorienting consequences surface more pronouncedly and specifically in higher education. The writing materializes my becoming of a site of dialogues regarding why, how and what might be the urgent reflexivity about the ―decline narrative‖ in ‗social sciences‘. The reflexive responses, nonetheless, are selective about the themes that I consider salient. They include: (a) how and why we need to accept our ‗reality‘ as ‗hybridity‘ that is assumed to complete and compete for the full circle of going global (‗western‘) and then to create the ‗real‘ differences in the research outcomes; (b) the reflexively critical journey beginning with where and how we stand in field research by merely „being there‟; (c) how we might redraw the possibilities of social science in India and finally (d) why and how the ambivalence of hybrid in-betweenness might help us speaking out ourselves. Thus, we cannot escape how we, like most of the postcolonial nations, unwittingly moved to the stabilising singularity at pre-neoliberal order that hardly could disembed us from the enduring ground of reflexive everydayness, even at the rise of neoliberal unstable multitude.

Keywords: Reflexivity, Social Science, Anthropology, Dialogue, Hybridity, Ambivalence, Postcolonial, Merely being there, Fieldwork, Knowing/Becoming, Neoliberal, Education
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