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The Changing Village in IndiaInsights from Longitudinal Research$
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Himanshu, Praveen Jha, and Gerry Rodgers

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199461868

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199461868.001.0001

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Plain Tales from the Plains

Plain Tales from the Plains

A Personal Account of Researching in Rural Bijnor over Three Decades

(p.35) 3 Plain Tales from the Plains
The Changing Village in India

Patricia Jeffery

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses long-term ethnographic research in western Uttar Pradesh that has focused largely on gender issues, especially in relation to childbearing and women’s health. The chapter addresses difficulties in gaining villagers’ trust after the family planning drive associated with the Emergency, and challenges of researching topics that villagers regarded as ‘natural’ and taken-for-granted as well as sensitive and shameful. Furthermore, ethnographic revisits raise particular ethical issues, whilst analysis and interpretation of data collected over time highlight the complexities of villagers’ changing lives within a wider context in which the state, the market, and communal politics have played crucial and ever-changing roles. Finally, the chapter considers the ethnographer’s impact on villagers’ lives and whether and in what situations an ethnographer can or should be a detached and neutral observer.

Keywords:   Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh, Ethnographic research/ethnography/ethnographer, gender, childbearing, women’s health, ethical issues, trust

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