CECI n'est pas EXECUTE Abdul Qadar

Abdul Qadar

PhD Student
Field(s): Ethnology / Social Anthropology
Institutional affiliation(s): EHESS

Professional contact information



Dissertation director: Michel Boivin

PhD program: EHESS - Social Anthropology and Ethnology

Initial registration: 2015


Gift Exchange as Social Capital in a Punjabi Village: Tradition in Transition


This study attempts to contextualize the contemporary patterns of social forces in a Punjabi village, which bring about change in traditional practices. Indeed there are changes in traditional social structures, but many important social practices still remain related to their roots or at least are not completely uprooted. Likewise, the practice of vartan bhanji (gift exchange) in a Punjabi village is likely to prove a helpful case for understanding changing social relations and their social significance in relation to their historical role and importance. The study also tries to analyze present means and mechanisms, which replace traditional practices and the roles of different actors. Therefore, the study tries to bridge the gap of unanswered questions regarding the social relevance and comparative importance of actors in the changing environment when it comes to social practices. For example, the importance of biradry under the changing role of families given increasing mobility and its present relevance as social capital is to be one of the major concerns of this study. Another related interest in this study remains the role of land as an important factor in village life, despite its changing socio-economic significance. The study intends to present an ethnographic analysis of the challenges to the current socio-economic importance of land as a sole determinant of one’s social status and economic position, which now tends to alternate with diverse professional options for the people of the village as a whole. This diversity of professional options is to be assessed as a challenge to the traditional understanding of the formation and preservation of the sole categories of zamindars and kammis. This division between both categories will be discussed as a matter of different practices and preferences as representing either of the categories. Furthermore, within this traditional categorization, the attempt has been made to locate and understand newer sources of status and honor which are organized and explicitly manifested at marriages and indeed implicitly calculated at death rituals. The study intends to ask, in individual or collective spheres, who plays what role with what kind of expectations in relation to the traditional roles. It is expected the study will highlight the changing potential of primary factors like gender roles, the family and the effectiveness of biradry in the broader changing context.



Last update: 25 January, 2015


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