He argued that ethnic catego provide an

This preview shows page 277 - 280 out of 306 pages.

he called the ‘structuring of interaction’. He argued that ethnic categories ‘provide an organizational vessel’ within which people can ascribe characteristics to individuals and judge the performance of individuals by categorical standards. Each ethnic category comprises a specific field of meaning and value, consisting of mutually exclusive rules and criteria of evaluation. Ethnic identities, therefore, ‘function as categories of inclusion/exclusion and interaction’, in other words, ethnicity situated in the realm of social interaction between the groups. In this way, Barth concludes his theory by emphasizing that ethnic groups are socially constructed (ibid: 14–15). According to Paul Brass, however, it is possible to reconcile the two viewpoints, at least to the extent of recognizing their utility for different types of ethnic community; and he argues that ‘one possible route towards reconciling the perspectives of primordialists and instrumentalists may lie in simply recognizing that cultural groups differ in the strength and richness of their cultural traditions and even more importantly in the strength of traditional institutions and social structure’ (Brass 1985: 5). Sakhong BOOK Page 252 Friday, February 14, 2003 2:13 PM
Pioneers in Ethnic Studies 253 NOTES 1 The term village-state is used by Frederick S. Downs in his study of the Christian movement among ethnic groups in the Northeast India. See Frederick Downs 1983 and 1992 (a). 2 See Hutchinson and A. Smith 1996; A. Smith 1986; Armstrong 1982; Eller 1999. In Burma, John Furnivall was mostly remembered as a colonial administrator, professor at Rangoon University and the founder of the ‘Burma Research Society’ in 1910 and the ‘Burma Book Club’ in 1924. In the 1950s he was the advisor to the government of newly independent Burma. When he died, The Guardian paid homage to him on 6 April 1960 as the ‘Grand Old Man of Burmese Scholarship’. Sakhong BOOK Page 253 Friday, February 14, 2003 2:13 PM
254 APPENDIX II Previous Literature in Chin Studies The Chins did not learn the art of writing until British administrators and American missionaries reduced their language to written form. Thus, the earliest written works about the Chins were produced almost exclusively by Westerners, mainly British military and administrative officers who had some connection with the Chins after the British East India Company occupied Chittagong, the country neighbouring the Chins, in 1760. During the first hundred years of their relationship, they produced no substantial study on the Chins; only after the British authorities appointed Colonel Tom Hubert Lewin as Superintendent of the newly created Chittagong Hill Tracts District in 1859 did the earliest historical and anthropological studies on the Chin appear. Thomas Lewin was the first scholar in the field. He produced at least three works on the Chin: The Hill Tracts of Chittagong and the Dwellers Therein (1869), Wild Races of South-Eastern India (1870) and A Fly on the Wheel or How I Helped to Govern India (1912). Another of his pioneer works, Lushai Primer, became an indispensable handbook for British officers and missionaries in the early days. In addition to his classical historical, anthropological and

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture