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Crafts in Eighteenth-Century Jodhpur: Questions of Class, Caste and Community Identities

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Through a case study of the artisanate in eighteenth-century Jodhpur, this paper explores the multiple identities among craft groups. It probes the matrix of factors that crystallised caste rather than class identities and solidarities, and enabled collective actions by craft castes in defence of their interests. It displays, however, that different contexts brought forth diverse forms of caste politics, and that behaving as unified blocs was as common as occasions that demonstrated fissures in caste identities. It therefore argues that multiple identities of individual craftsmen resulted in their perusal of heterogeneous competing agendas crosscutting caste and class affiliations. The paper thereby points to the contested character of all such aggregations. Cet article analyse la matrice des facteurs ayant permis la cristallisation des identités et des solidarités de la caste au lieu de la classe, ainsi que l'action collective des castes artisanales pour la défense de leurs intérêts à travers l'exemple de l'artisanat du Jodhpur au 18e siècle. Il met en lumière le fait que différents contextes engendrant différentes formes de politique des castes, les castes artisanales ne se comportaient pas comme un bloc unifié mais étaient aussi traversées par des fissures. Dès lors, les identités multiples portées par les artisans ont engendré des luttes politiques hétérogènes traversant les affiliations de caste et de classe. Cet article vise donc à mettre l'accent sur le caractère contesté de ces catégories.


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