How many hairpin turns in Wayanad Kerala

Academia.edu no longer supports Internet Explorer.

To browse Academia.edu and the wider internet faster and more securely, please take a few seconds to upgrade your browser.

  • Anthropology, Medical Anthropology / antropología médica, Sociology and Anthropology of Agriculture and Food, Agrarian Change, Political Ecology (Anthropology), Medical Anthropology, and 30 moreDevelopment anthropology, Peasant Studies, South India, Anthropology of Suicide, Suicide (Anthropology), Agrarian Studies , South Asian Studies, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Political Ecology, Environmental Anthropology, India, Postcolonial Studies, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Critical Agrarian Studies, Village Studies, Neoliberal Globalization, Theory in Anthropology, Postcolonial Anthropology, Anthropocene, Food Sovereignty, India ( Anthropology), Ethnography, Suicide, South Asia, Agrarian Social Movements, Feminist science and technology studies, Environmental Humanities, Environmental Health, and Critical Medical Anthropologyedit
  • Daniel Muenster is a social and cultural anthropologist working on South Asia with interests in health and ecology, food and agriculture, suicide and mental health , more-than-human health, anthropology of microbes (esp. soil), social study of science, and social theory. Daniel has conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork in rural Tamil Nadu and Kerala (South India).

    Daniel holds a doctorate in anthropology from Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich (2005) and a habilitation (2019) from Heidelberg University (venia legendi: Social and Cultural Anthropology). 2013-2018 he was leader of the Research Group “Agrarian Alternatives: Agrarian Crisis, Global Concerns and the Contested Agro-Ecological Futures in South Asia” at the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” at Heidelberg University. He taught social anthropology at Bielefeld University (2005-2007), Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (2007-2013), Heidelberg University (2013-2018), University of Cologne (2019), and Bremen University (2019-2020) .edit
“Postcolonial Traditions” combines the approaches of postcolonial theory and subaltern studies with a modern ethnography of rural South India. A South Indian village is used as a place for the realization of a ... more
»Postcolonial Traditions« combines the approaches of postcolonial theory and subaltern studies with a modern ethnography of rural South India. A South Indian village is described as a place where an alternative non-western modernity is being realized. Two features of Indian modernity are worked out: its post-coloniality - the ubiquitous legacy of colonialism - and its traditionality - its negotiation in non-Western idioms. In this village monograph, postcolonial modernity is related to micro- and infrapolitical processes and thus made accessible to an ethnographic representation.
Research Interests:
This is a theoretical essay, based on my MA thesis at LMU Munich, that reviews the anthropology of the senses together with a (then) recent paradigm shift in German comparative religion: the aesthetics of religion. The essay aims at a ... more
This is a theoretical essay, based on my MA thesis at LMU Munich, that reviews the anthropology of the senses together with a (then) recent paradigm shift in German comparative religion: the aesthetics of religion. The essay aims at a materialist and bodily grounding of religion. The essay argues that a turn towards production and reproduction of religion mediated by the senses and religious "media" may add fresh insight to the ethnographic study of religion.

German abstract:
Religions are not exhausted in the discursive systematizations of their specialists, but are sensually conveyed and experienced through their forms and rituals, their smells, sounds, texts and presentations. The aesthetic dimension of religions relates to the processes of production and reception of religious media. This brings the importance of sensual and aesthetic experience for identification with a tradition into focus. The present work aims at the theoretical foundation of an ethnological religious aesthetics. For this purpose, a large number of impulses from religious studies and ethnology are brought together in the first part. The more recent aesthetics debate in ethnology, theories about religious communication and its media, and insights from cognitive ethnology about senses and perception are also made available for the project of religious aesthetics. In a second chapter, the aesthetic of religion is concretely related to rituals. From a religious-aesthetic perspective, rituals are neither an expression of symbolic meaning nor a meaningless form, but through their execution, the interplay of their media and content, they contribute significantly to the reproduction and change of a religion. This includes an acknowledgment of the sensual and aesthetic 'meaning' of rituals.
Research Interests:
Research Interests:
Suicide and Agency offers an original and timely challenge to existing ways of understanding suicide. Through the use of rich and detailed case studies, the authors assembled in this volume explore how interplay of self-harm, suicide, ... more
Suicide and Agency offers an original and timely challenge to existing ways of understanding suicide. Through the use of rich and detailed case studies, the authors assembled in this volume explore how interplay of self-harm, suicide, personhood and agency varies markedly across site (Greenland, Siberia, India, Palestine and Mexico) and setting (self-run leprosy colony, suicide bomb attack, cash-crop farming, middle-class mothering).

Rather than starting from a set definition of suicide, they empirically engage suicide fields-the wider domains of practices and of sense making, out of which realized, imaginary, or disputed suicides emerge. By drawing on ethnographic methods and approaches, a new comparative angle to understanding suicide beyond mainstream Western bio-medical and classical sociological conceptions of the act as an individual or social pathology is opened up. The book explores a number of ontological assumptions about the role of Free will, power, good and evil, personhood, and intentionality in both popular and expert explanations of suicide.

Suicide and Agency offers a substantial and ground-breaking contribution to the emerging field of the anthropology of suicide. It will appeal to a range of scholars and students, including those in anthropology, sociology, social psychology, cultural studies, suicidology, and social studies of death and dying.
Research Interests:
Around the world, fields and forests are increasingly dominated by the market, mediated by science, and subjected to new modes of transnational environmental governance. This volume of RCC Perspectives presents ethnographic insights into ... more
Around the world, fields and forests are increasingly dominated by the market, mediated by science, and subjected to new modes of transnational environmental governance. This volume of RCC Perspectives presents ethnographic insights into the impacts of such environmental globalization. As agriculture seeks new methods to provide for a growing population, and as forest conservation becomes increasingly contested, local and indigenous communities must balance their needs and desires with the demands of a variety of external agents, from academics and bureaucrats to governments and international agribusinesses.
Research Interests:
This article explores how 'Zero Budget Natural Farming', an Indian natural farming movement centered on its founder and guru Subhash Palekar, enacts alternative agrarian worlds through the dual practices of critique and recuperation .... more
This article explores how 'Zero Budget Natural Farming', an Indian natural farming movement centered on its founder and guru Subhash Palekar, enacts alternative agrarian worlds through the dual practices of critique and recuperation. Based on fieldwork among practitioners in the South Indian state of Kerala and on participation in teaching events held by Palekar, I describe the movement's critique of the agronomic mainstream (state extension services, agricultural universities, and scientists) and their recuperative practices of restoring small- scale cultivation based on Indian agroecological principles and biologies. Their critique combines familiar political-ecological arguments against productionism, and the injustices of the global food regime, with Hindu nationalist tropes highlighting Western conspiracies and corrupt science. For their recuperative work, these natural farmers draw, on one hand, on traveling agroecological technologies (fermentation, spacing, mulching, cow based farming) and current 'probiotic', microbiological, and symbiotic understandings of soil and agriculture. On the other hand, they use Hindu nativist tropes, insisting on the exceptional properties of agrarian species native to, and belonging to India. I use the idea of ​​ontological politics to describe the movement's performances as enacting an alternative rural world, in which humans, other-than-human animals, plants, mycorrhizae, and microbes are doing agriculture together.

Cet article explore la manière dont «Zero Budget Natural Farming», un mouvement d'agriculture naturelle indien centré sur son fondateur et gourou Subhash Palekar, with en oeuvre des mondes agraires alternatifs par le biais de la double pratique de la critique et de la recupération . En me basant sur le travail de terrain effectué auprès de praticiens de l'État du Kerala, dans le sud de l'Inde, et sur la participation à des événements pédagogiques organisés par Palekar, je décris la critique du mouvement concernant le courant agronomique ( agents de vulgarisation agricole, universités agricoles et scientifiques) et leurs pratiques de récupération à la restauration à petite culture basée sur les principes agro-écologiques et les biologies indiennes. Leur critique associe des arguments politico-écologiques bien connus contre le productionnisme et les injustices du régime alimentaire mondial, avec des tropes nationalistes hindouistes mettant en lumière des complots occidentaux et une science corrompue. Pour leur travail de récupération, ces agriculteurs naturels s'appuient, d'une part, sur les technologies agroécologiques itinérantes (fermentation, espacement, paillage, élevage bovin) et sur les conceptions «probiotiques», microbiologiques et symbiotiques actuelles du sol et de l 'agriculture. Par ailleurs, ils utilisent des tropes nativistes hindous, insistant sur les propriétés exceptionnelles des espèces agraires originaires et appartenant à l'Inde. J'utilise l'idée de politique ontologique pour décrire les performances du mouvement en tant que représentation d'un monde rural alternatif, dans lequel des humains, des animaux, des plantes, des mycorhizes et des microbes autres que les humains, pratiquent l ' agriculture ensemble.

Este artículo explora cómo Zero Budget Natural Farming, un movimiento agrícola natural centrado en su fundador y gurú Subhash Palekar, promulga mundos agrarios alternativos a través de las prácticas duales de crítica y recuperación. Basándome en el trabajo de campo entre los practicantes en el estado de Kerala, en el sur de la India, y en la participación en los eventos de enseñanza organizados por Palekar, describo la crítica del movimiento a la corriente principal en agronomía (extensión estatal, universidades de agricultura, científicos) y sus prácticas de recuperación para restaurar cultivos en pequeña escala. Basados ​​en supuestos biografías y principios agroecológicos indios. Su crítica combina argumentos familiares, ecológicos y políticos contra el produccionismo y las injusticias del régimen alimentario global con los tropos hindúes nacionalistas de las conspiraciones occidentales y la ciencia corrupta. Para su trabajo de recuperación, estos agricultores naturales recurren, por un lado, a tecnologías agroecológicas ambulantes (fermentos, espaciamiento, acolchado, cría de vacas) y entendimientos "probióticos", microbiológicos y. La en hindú tropos nativistas, insistiendo en las propiedades excepcionales de las especies agrarias nativas de (y que pertenecen a) la India. Utilizo la idea de la politica ontológica para describir los movimientos de los movimientos como la promulgación de un mundo rural alternativo, en el que los humanos, los animales, las plantas, la micorriza y los microbios están haciendo juntos la agricultura.

The article explores how an Indian natural farming movement, the Zero Budget Natural Farming movement, which focuses on its founder and guru Subhash Palekar, is creating alternative agrarian worlds through the dual practice of criticism and recuperation. Based on field research with smallholders in the southern Indian state of Kerala and with courses from Palekar, I describe the movement's criticism of the agronomic mainstream (agricultural advisors, agricultural universities, scientists) and its practices of restoring smallholder agriculture based on supposedly Indian agroecological principles and biologies. Her criticism combines well-known political-ecological arguments against productionism and the injustices of the global food regime with the Hindu nationalist theories of Western conspiracies and corrupt science. For their restorative work, the natural land farmers rely on the one hand on well-known agroecological technologies (fermentation, plant spacing, mulching, cow husbandry) and current "probiotic", microbiological and symbiotic ideas of soil and agriculture and on the other hand on nationalistic ideas based on the extraordinary properties of India I use the term ontological politics to describe the performative production of an alternative rural world in which humans, non-human animals, plants, mycoriza and microbes farm together in this movement.
Research Interests:
Political Ecology, Critique, India, Ontological Politics, Kerala, and 12 moreNatureCultures, Critique, India, Agricultural Anthropology, alternative agricultures, small-scale cultivators, Subhash Palekar, Ethnologie der Landwirtschaft, alternative Landwirtschaft, naturenkulturen, ontologische politik, and kleinbauern
Daniel Münster takes us to the troubled history of improving dairy production in India, from the crossbreeding and high-cost industrialized care of delicate hybrids to the equally complex implications of a native-cow revival. The apparent ... more
Daniel Münster takes us to the troubled history of improving dairy production in India, from the crossbreeding and high-cost industrialized care of delicate hybrids to the equally complex implications of a native-cow revival. The apparent success story of improving dairy cows is tainted by past violence involved in eradicating indigenous breeds. This story has recently been challenged by politically engaged “Natural Farmers” who, while rejecting all nonnative species, have rediscovered old native breeds and their symbionts, promoting these as the only true and beneficial multispecies assemblages for the local ecosystems.
Research Interests:
Anthropology, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Organic agriculture, Agrobiodiversity, Peasant Studies, and 12 moreNationalism, Agriculture, Biopolitics, Food Sovereignty, India, Belonging, Multispecies Ethnography, Animals, Kerala, Organic farming in India, Cattle, and Fermentation
Research Interests:
Responding to agrarian crisis at home, cash crop cultivators hailing from the South Indian district of Wayanad increasingly engage in the seasonal production of ginger in other states of India. This is a purely profit-based and ... more
Responding to agrarian crisis at home, cash crop cultivators hailing from the South Indian district of Wayanad increasingly engage in the seasonal production of ginger in other states of India. This is a purely profit-based and unsustainable crop boom that takes a great on both labor and the environment. This ethnographic analysis of speculative ginger cultivation situations this emerging economic complex in the regional political ecology, farming practices, individual farmers ’hopes and aspirations, and in relation to the qualities of ginger as a cultivar. It argues that ginger is a special kind of boom crop and that its cultivation on large tracts of leased land is the manifestation of a moment of agrarian uncertainty and the neoliberalization of agriculture in South India coproduced by the properties of ginger. As a neoliberal boom crop, ginger exemplifies a regime of flexibilization of agrarian accumulation that has proved a profitable move for some, but has brought financial ruin and debt traps for many others.
Research Interests:
Anthropology, Political Ecology, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Agrarian Studies, Peasant Studies, and 10 moreSouth Asian Studies, Environmental Anthropology, South Asia, Risk and Vulnerability, Agriculture, Neoliberalism, South India, Political Ecology (Anthropology), Kerala, and Ginger
(English Summary) Agriculture in India: Marginal Farmers between Crisis and new Perspectives In the context of a much publicized boom of Indian cities and their IT and service sectors, several hundred million people continue to live ... more
(English Summary)
Agriculture in India: Marginal Farmers between Crisis and new Perspectives

In the context of a much publicized boom of Indian cities and their IT and service sectors, several hundred million people continue to live in rural areas and directly or indirectly depend on agricultural land use.Smallholder production, which accounts for 95 percent of the total cultivated area in India, is embedded in regionally specific natural, social and cultural conditions. Today, Indian farmers have to face protracted socioeconomic and ecological crises, which two case studies from Ladakh and Wayanad exemplify. Despite the diverse configuration of agrarian questions in relation to caste, class and gender as well as the differential incorporation into markets, Indian smallholders face similar challenges that often manifest in precarization, uncertainty and a difficult generational reproduction. For many smallholders, the future of farming remains uncertain.

Abstract (German)
While the focus of international coverage is on India's cities and the boom in the IT and service sectors, hundreds of millions of people in India are still remote from the agricultural sector
Production depends on increasingly fragmented usable areas. Smallholders in particular are increasingly vulnerable to socio-economic and ecological crises, which they face in a variety of ways. Based on the two regions of Ladakh (Jammu & Kashmir) and Wayanad (Kerala), selected ecological and economic challenges for smallholder producers are exemplarily illustrated in this article.
Research Interests: