Centre for Cooperative Research in Social Sciences
(CCRSS, Pune, Maharashtra, India)

Self-innovating cultures

When change is viewed as transformation resulting from exogenous intervention, research studies concentrate on such processes as transfer of knowledge, control of conducts and practices, acceptance of new ideologies brought from outside (see Epistemology of development and social transformation).

One should on the contrary highlight autonomous processes of cultural innovation, re-interpretation of alien values and ideologies (see Sita's exile, Stonemill and Bhakti, songs at the grindmill, A performance capacity reactivated, Grindmill songs and animation), spontaneous innovations in the everyday life-styles, the development initiatives of independent action groups (see Communication, culture and power, Grassroot socio-cultural action and development), in general all moves where the traditional socio-cultural frameworks constitute the spring-board for invention or happen to be creatively reshaped and reassessed without breach of continuity.

On the whole, emphasis should be put on internal impulses and urges that motivate to dissent and challenge established structures, on forms and ways of contest and discontinuity.

(See Unfettered Voices and Autobiographies)

This raises significant methodological perspectives, in particular the apparent contradiction of discourses of continuity significantly legitimizing and carrying through changes within tradition. What could be the status of concepts of social or cultural transformation when change occurs in continuity and in the name of tradition? The assumption of an absolute opposition of tradition -- as continuity or stagnant past -- to modernity -- as power of transformation or dynamic present -- is really no more obvious nor justified. Post-modernity makes sense above all as interface of the ancient and the modern.

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