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Title page for ETD etd-07292008-211236

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Chaudhuri, Soma
Author's Email Address soma.chaudhuri@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-07292008-211236
Title Tempest in a tea pot: analysis of contemporary witch hunts in the tea plantations of Bengal
Degree PhD
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Gary Jensen Committee Chair
  • Deviant Behavior
  • Sociology
  • Violence
  • witch hunts
  • India
  • gender
Date of Defense 2008-07-24
Availability unrestricted
In my dissertation I use a variety of qualitative methods (case study, in depth interviews and ethnography) to analyze how a migrant labor community uses “extreme deviance” as a form of protest. Using contemporary cases of witch hunts among the tribal migrant laborers in the tea plantations of India, I examine the causes behind individual incidents of witch hunts over a twenty six year time period. Specifically, I am interested in how the conflicts within the plantations between the management and the workers have an influence on the workers lives and whether witch hunts are a manifestation of protests against the plantation management. The tribal communities in India have a reputation for the belief and persecution of witches, and in the recent decades, incidents of witch hunts have been a major concern among the plantation community. Using theories of deviance and gender power structure, I examine what defines a deviant (in this case a “witch”) in the tribal labor community and what social conditions lead to a “suitable” labeling of a deviant (in this case branding or labeling an individual as a witch).
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