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Chapter 1

ANTH 2108 Chapter 1: Friendship and Flirting: Micro Politics in Kerala, South India

Course Code
ANTH 2108
Meena Khandelwal

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Friendship and Flirting: Micro Politics in Kerala, South India
I. Suggest that principle of hierarchy Is not entirely unavoidable in social interaction in
A. Analysis of harassment, flirting and romance
1. Show that hierarchy can be played with, negated, intensified or reversed
2. Ambiguity, ambivalence and interdeterminancy= highly important
B. Context: Society in Kerala= conservative, highly segregated by sex
1. Agriculture decline
2. Pop. Benefits from literacy, health care and land redistribution
3. High caste families live in the interior
i.) Dalits/ low caste lives in the exterior
4. Villagers differentiated by class too
5. Young men and women both
i.) Marrying for most part in their twenties
ii.) Expected to have no pre-marital relationships
II. Youg es friedships: Cotestig hierarh?
A. Subvert or escape caste in relations with each other
1. “egregated fro girls, soializig i all ale gags
2. In absence of external structures or validation for their passage to
manhood, turn to peers for affirmation
3. Egalitarian relations, no one keeps account of who owes who; break
down social distance
4. Limited degree of cross-community mixing
i.) Cross class mixing=hella common
B. Harassment and tuning
1. Throughout romance, gender hierarchy=reversed, confused, exaggerated
or abandoned
i.) Aggressie harasset= ½ the stor; theres also goal to e
recognized as artistic, creative and romantic
ii.) A Young man can be soft and romantic as well as an aggressive
a.) Romantic/artistic endeavors rarely acknowledged b/c still
dangerous for girls
2. Tuig: Tetatie ehage or flirtatio that stops if girl doest respod
to opening lines
i.) Semi-formalized speech act: hard to say if opening gambit is
harassment or flirtation
a.) Safety in ambiguity
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