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Morungs and Megaliths: Heritage Among the Naga of Nagaland, Northeast India

Imchen, Shisachila; (2018) Morungs and Megaliths: Heritage Among the Naga of Nagaland, Northeast India. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

The thesis draws on a year-long field study of morungs and megaliths as important components of Naga heritage, and on written sources documenting Naga ethnography and other relevant literature. It examines the ways in which these objects of material culture are used at two levels: the state and the village, in terms of projecting Naga identity. The phenomenological approach to the study of the stated theme brings out the process of embodiment, materialization and memorialisation of the Naga past in the present through megalithic building, interactions of the people with and within the morung, and festivals involving participation of individuals as members of the community at different levels, Khonoma being a case in point. The study has addressed itself to the dynamics of heritage politics, thereby filling in the gap area that had remained in the extant works on the Naga due to various factors, not least Nagaland’s volatile political climate and inaccessibility till recently. It reveals the extent and nature of state involvement in negotiating heritage to sell its idea of constructing a composite Naga identity with particular reference to the state-sponsored Hornbill Festival. The study also works at the level of village-centric identity formation through the process of socialization, a carry-over from their traditional past.Importantly the use of the phenomenological approach complemented by insights drawn from heritage studies on especially non-Western societies has opened up new lines of inquiry into the ways in which identity is built up, reworked and sustained. In this respect the study makes a significant contribution to the understanding of heritage in contemporary Nagaland and in the broader picture of material culture studies.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Morungs and Megaliths: Heritage Among the Naga of Nagaland, Northeast India
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10047448
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