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Melancholia of FreedomSocial Life in an Indian Township in South Africa$
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Thomas Blom Hansen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691152950

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691152950.001.0001

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Domesticity and Cultural Intimacy

Domesticity and Cultural Intimacy

(p.59) Chapter 2 Domesticity and Cultural Intimacy
Melancholia of Freedom

Thomas Blom Hansen

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how the space of the township gradually became marked and coded as a space that was interior to Indian life. It traces the emergence of the figure of the charou in the township as the constant other of the emergent, respectable Indian community in Chatsworth. Mainly based on archival material, narratives, and ethnographic material, the chapter also shows how the older figure of the “coolie”—the stereotyped, lower-caste plantation worker—gives way to a new and deracinated menace within the township that is equated with “backwardness” and stubborn, traditional conservatism, which needs to be reformed in order for the community to fully evolve.

Keywords:   Indian life, Indian township, charou, Chatsworth, coolie, traditional conservatism

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