Published in German, “Rupien in der Dollar-Zone” is essentially a classic village-based ethnography of the Badaga people in the South Indian Nilgiri Hills (in particular the so-called Dollar-Zone). However, what the book explores in the first place is the role of money as a “total social fact” (Marcel Mauss).
Through the lens of money “Rupien in der Dollar-Zone” delves deeply into essentials such as kinship, love and alliance, ritual, foundation mythology, ancestor worship and settlement-patterns. Thereby it explores local (monetary) history and culture as well as the development of the economy: the colonial and the independent periods, the ups and downs of a local tea-industry; the fundaments, functions, values, infrastructures and techniques of contemporary financial landscapes; the role of education and labor migration; the ‘acts’ of transaction and the staged performances of monetary circuits along with the vivid traditions of “running after the money” in nearly all aspects of everyday live and culture.
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