Front matter

R.J Fisher


This book is a revised version of my PhD thesis submitted to the Department of Anthropology at the University of Sydney in 1988. It deals with the human ecology of western Rajasthan, emphasising the strategies by which people adapt to the ever-present threat of drought. The focus is on the village of Hinganiya (and, to a lesser extent, on three nearby villages). The strategies adopted in these villages differ somewhat from each other and from the strategies adopted elsewhere in the region. Indeed, it is a major theme of this book that adaptive strategies are individual responses to specific conditions existing at a particular place at a particular point of time. However, the local processes occur in the context of social and economic forces which are, to some extent, common to the wider region, and the insights gained from the case study throw light on the processes occurring more widely in western Rajasthan and even, perhaps, outside the region. I believe that the value of ethnographic research is that it generates insights (rather than laws), which assist in understanding social phenomena.

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