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A Garland of BonesChild Runaways in India$
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Jonah Steinberg

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780300222807

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300222807.001.0001

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Of Crisis, Calamity, and Village Fabrics

Of Crisis, Calamity, and Village Fabrics

(p.81) Three Of Crisis, Calamity, and Village Fabrics
A Garland of Bones

Jonah Steinberg

Yale University Press

This chapter considers the historical dimensions of the forms and forces associated with child precarity and departure. It argues that there is indeed something going on in the villages that children run away from, the most that counts as “crisis” on some level, and particularly on the level of the disruption of kinship practice and structure. The confluence of all these things over time and space—slavery and child sale, indigo exploitation, rebellion, Naxal-Maoism, debt-driven coolie labor, agricultural crisis—points to the reality of the notion of “vortices of misery,” and perhaps even nested or cascading vortices, wherein each response provides its own context for new misery. Even the postulate that the villages manifest a cultural tendency, a shared norm that decrees leaving home alone acceptable and available, is likely a formation that represents culture responding to historical conditions, a structure of practice and discourse that has developed in dialogue with a catastrophic scale and pace of change.

Keywords:   child runaways, northern India, street children, child departure, villages

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