Masculinity in the margins: men and identity in twenty-first century Nagaland
Constructions of masculinity in Nagaland have historically focused on stereotypes of a premodern, warrior savage. Early discussions are rife with ascriptions of primitiveness and a widely perceived adherence to ‘headhunting’ practices. Recent discussions of masculine discourses in Nagaland engage with ideas of manhood and masculinity as externally informed and influenced by these constructions, as well as Indian mass media, and national and international tourism dialogues. I argue that masculinity in Nagaland navigates myriad structures and scales of identity, involving shades of this externally drawn masculinity, as well as local configurations of masculinity that are less salient and ‘loud’, but in many ways are highly relevant to the changing nature of identity in Nagaland. Essentially, masculinity in Nagaland is fluid and dynamic, despite popular tourist and media rhetoric framing Naga men as cut from an ancient, temporally distinct, and savage stock. It is informed by these historical stereotypes, but also by contemporary politics and social issues. This is important for two reasons. Firstly, it contributes to discussions of multi-scalar identity in Nagaland, how Naga culture is presented to the outside world, and the ways many Nagas perceive themselves in a changing Nagaland. Secondly, these identity structures shape identity politics and political outcomes today, a phenomenon that is part of larger local debates on marginality in Nagaland.
Ao, T. 2006. Identity and Globalization: A Naga Perspective. In Indian FolkLore, A Quarterly News Letter from National Folklore Support Centre 22, 6–7.
Baruah, S. 1999. India Against Itself: Assam and the Politics of Nationality. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press.
De Beauvoir, S. 1949. The Second Sex. New York: Random House.
Bourdieu, P. 1984. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. London: Routledge.
Brahmaputra Tours, Nagaland. Available at: http://www.brahmaputra-tours.com, accessed 14 July 2015.
Brison, K.J. 1996. Becoming Savage: Western Representations and Cultural Identity in a Sepik Society. In Anthropology and Humanism 21, 5–18.
Butler, J. 1875. Rough Notes on the Angami Nagas and Their Language. In Journal of the Asiatic Society 4, 307–346.
Canetto, S.S. & Cleary, A. 2012. Men, Masculinities and Suicidal Behaviour. In Social Science and Medicine 74, 461–465.
Cole, J. & Durham, D. 2008. Introduction: Globalization and the Temporality of Children and Youth. In Figuring the Future: Globalization and the Temporalities of Children and Youth. Santa Fe: NML School for Advanced Research Press.
Connell, R.W. & Messerschmidt, J.W. 2005. Hegemonic Masculinity: Rethinking the Concept. In Gender & Society 19, 829–859.
Cox, A. 2011. Doing the programme or doing me? The pains of youth imprisonment. In Punishment & Society 13, 592–610.
Dirks, N.B. 1992. Castes of Mind. In Representations 37, 56–78.
Dirks, N.B. 2001. Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Eastern Mirror Nagaland, 2015. Civil society cries out against alleged rape in Dimapur, available at: http://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/civil-society-cries-out-against-alleged-rape-in-dimapur, accessed 1 May 2017.
Endle, S. 1911. The Kacharis. London: Macmillan and Co Ltd.
Farrelly, N. 2009. 'AK47/M16 Rifle - Rs. 15,000 each': What price peace on the Indo-Burmese frontier? In Contemporary South Asia 17, 283–297.
Farrington, D.P. Loeber, R. & Berg, M.T. 2012. Young Men Who Kill: A Prospective Longitudinal Examination from Childhood. In Homicide Studies 16, 99–128.
Fausto-Sterling, A. 1997. How to Build a Man. In Science and Homosexualities (ed) V. A. Rosario. New York: Routledge.
Fuller, C.J. 2016. History, Anthropology, Colonialism, and the Study of India. In History and Theory 55, 452–464.
Gaikwad, N. 2009. Revolting bodies, hysterical state: women protesting the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (1958). In Contemporary South Asia 299, 37–41.
Gait, E.A., 1906. A History of Assam, Calcutta: Thacker, Spink & Co.
Gergan, M.D., 2014. Precarity and Possibility: On being Young and Indigenous in Sikkim, India. In Himalaya 34, 65-80.
Ghoshal, D. 2012. Korea out of Kohima. Business Standard, 24 November, 2012. Online: http://www.business-standard.com/article/beyond-business/korea-out-of-kohima-112112400002_1.html, accessed 1 May 2017.
GO Travelling Ltd, 2015. Tribes of Nagaland. Available at: http://www.onthegotours.com/India/Private-Tours/Tribes-of-Nagaland-14-days, accessed 14 July 2015.
Government of India. 2011 Census.
Government of Nagaland, 2007. Evaluation Study on Employment Opportunities Foregone by Nagas and Employment of Non Nagas in the State, Kohima.
Greener Pastures, 2012. Nagaland Tour of Tribes. Available at: http://www.thegreenerpastures.com/nagaland-tour-of-tribes-kohima-konyak-mon-mokokchung [Accessed July 14, 2015].
Gurdon, P.R.T. 1914. The Khasis. London: D. Nutt.
Hagedorn, J.M.M. 2008. A World of Gangs: Armed Young Men and Gangsta Culture, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.
Henderson, C.E. & Weisgrau, M. 2007. Raj Rhapsodies: Tourism, Heritage and the Seduction of History. Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
Holt, S., Buckley, H. & Whelan, S. 2008. The impact of exposure to domestic violence on children and young people: a review of the literature. In Child Abuse & Neglect 32, 797–810.
Hornbillfestival.com, Hornbill Festival 2015. Hornbill Festival.com, accessed 14 July 2015.
Hoskins, J. 1996. Introduction: Headhunting as Practice and as Trope. In Headhunting and the Social Imagination in Southeast Asia (ed) J. Hoskins. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Hussain, W. 2009. Ethno-Nationalism and the Politics of Terror in India’s Northeast. In South Asia: The Spectre of Terrorism (eds) P.R. Kumaraswamy & I. Copland. New Delhi: Routledge.
Jeffrey, C. 2010. Timepass: Youth, Class and the Politics of Waiting in India. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Johari, A. 2015. Four charts show the disproportionate number of Muslims in jail in Nagaland. Scroll.in. Available online: http://scroll.in/article/716774/four-charts-show-the-disproportionate-number-of-muslims-in-jail-in-nagaland.
Johnstone, J. 1896. My Experiences in the Manipur and the Naga Hills, London: Sampson Low, Marston and Company.
Karmakar, R., 2015. Nagaland case: It’s about immigrants, and politics adds fuel to fire. Hindustan Times.
Kashyap, S.G., 2015. Nagaland: Movement against 'immigrants' brewing for a while. The Indian Express. Available online: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/nagaland-movement-against-immigrants-brewing-for-a-while/.
Kieselbach, T. 2003. Long-term unemployment among young people: The risk of social exclusion. American Journal of Community Psychology, 32(1–2), pp.69–76.
Kikon, D., 2015. Life and Dignity: Women’s Testimonies of Sexual Violence in Dimapur (Nagaland), Guwahati: North Eastern Social Research Centre.
Kikon, D., 2005. Operation Hornbill Festival 2004. In Gateway to the East: Symposium on Northeast India and the Look East Policy.
Kikon, D., 2009. The predicament of justice: fifty years of Armed Forces Special Powers Act in India. Contemporary South Asia, 17(3), pp.271–282.
Kiranshankar, M., 2011. Nagaland: From Darkness to Light, Kolkata: Anjali Publishers.
Kotwal, D., 2008. The Naga insurgency: The past and the future. In Strategic Analysis 24, 751-72.
Lacina, B., 2009. The Problem of Political Stability in Northeast India: Local Ethnic Autocracy and the Rule of Law. In Asian Survey 49, 998–1020.
Laskar, N.I. 2015. Dimapur Lynching: The Nagaland Picture Has Cracked. The Citizen, 1–8.
Lonely Planet, 2015. Introducing Nagaland. Available online: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/india/northeast-states/nagaland, accessed 14 July 2015.
Longkumer, A. 2015. 'As our ancestors once lived': Representation, Performance, and Constructing a National Culture amongst the Nagas of India. In Himalaya 35.
_____ 2013. Who Sings for the Hornbill?: The Performance and Politics of Culture in Nagaland, Northeast India. The South Asianist, 2(2), 87–96.
Lorrain, R.A., 1915. Five Years in Unknown Jungles: For God and Empire, London: Lakher Pioneer Mission.
Mahanta, N.G. 2013. Confronting the State: ULFA’s Quest for Sovereignty. New Delhi: SAGE Publications.
McCosh, J. 1837. Topography of Assam. Calcutta: G.H. Huttmann Bengal Military Orphan Press.
Mcdowell, L. 2001. 'It's that Linda again’: Ethical, Practical and Political Issues Involved in Longitudinal Research with Young Men. In Ethics, Place and Environment 4, 87–100.
McDuie-Ra, D. 2016. Adjacent identities in Northeast India. Asian Ethnicity 17, 400–413.
_____ 2013. Being a tribal man from the North-East: Migration, morality, and masculinity. In South Asian History and Culture, 4(2), pp.250–265.
_____ 2012a. Leaving the Militarized Frontier: Migration and Tribal Masculinity in Delhi. In Men and Masculinities, 15(2), pp.112–131.
_____ 2012b. Northeast Migrants in Delhi, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
_____ 2009a. Fifty-year disturbance: the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and exceptionalism in a South Asian periphery. In Contemporary South Asia 17, 255–270.
_____ 2009b. Vision 2020 or re-vision 1958: the contradictory politics of counter-insurgency in India’s regional engagement. In Contemporary South Asia 17, 313–330.
Mendis, E.D.L. 1981. The Economic, Social and Cultural Impact of Tourism on Sri Lanka. Colombo: Christian Workers Fellowship.
Middleton, T. 2013. Anxious Belongings: Anxiety and the Politics of Belonging in Subnationalist Darjeeling. In American Anthropologist 115, 608–621.
Mills, J.P. 1922. The Lhota Nagas. London: Macmillion.
Mukherjee, K. 2014. The Conflict in the Indian Northeast. In Defence Studies 14, 111–133.
Mumford, L. 1934. Technics and Civilization. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Wild.
Nag, S. 2002. Contesting Marginality: Ethnicity, Insurgency and Subnationalism in North-East India. New Delhi: Manohar Publishers & Distrivuters.
Ngully, M. 2014. Stories in a curiosity box: John Henry Hutton administrator-collector in the Naga Hills. In Passing Things On: Ancestors and Genealogies in Northeast India (ed) M. Heneise. Dimapur: Heritage Publishing House.
Nilan, P., A. Demartoto & A. Wibowo, A. 2011. Young Men and Peer Fighting in Solo, Indonesia. In Men and Masculinities 14, 470–490.
Patil, V. 2011. Narrating political history about contested space: tourism websites of India’s Northeast. In Annals of Tourism Research 38, 989–1008.
Picard, M., 1990. 'Cultural Tourism' in Bali: Cultural Performances as Tourist Attraction. In Indonesia 49, 37–74.
Piliavsky, A. 2015. The 'Criminal Tribe' in India before the British. In Comparative Studies in Society and History 57, 323–354.
Randle, F.E. & Hughes, W. 2003. Hell on Land, Disaster at Sea: The Story of Merrill’s Marauders and the Sinking of the Rhona. Rivenburg: Turner Publishing Co.
Reed, R. 1942. History of the Frontier Areas Bordering on Assam. Shillong: Assam Government Press.
Said, E. 1978. Orientalism. London: Penguin.
Sandham, O. 2016. In 30 years, northeast indigenous people will be reduced to a minority. In Asian Tribune 12, 1689.
Scott, J.C. 2009. The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Singh, M. 2006. The Soul Hunters of Central Asia. In Christianity Today 50, 50–57.
Skelton, T. 2010. Taking Young People as Political Actors Seriously: Opening the Borders of Political Geography. In Area 42, 145–51.
Smith, R. 2010. Masculinity, doxa and the institutionalisation of entrepreneurial identity in the novel Cityboy. In International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship 2, 27–48.
Smith, S.H. & Gergan, M. 2015. The diaspora within: Himalayan youth, education-driven migration, and future aspirations in India. In Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 33, 119–135.
Tempesta, G.A. 2005. Cannibal Talk: the man-eating myth and human sacrifice in the South Seas. In Revista de Antropologia, 48, 749–757.
Thompson, E.C. 2013. Review of Men and Masculinities in Southeast Asia (eds) M. Ford & L. Lyons. In Asian Journal of Social Science 41, 67–84.
Thong, T. 2014. Progress and its impact on the Nagas: A clash of worldviews. Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
_____ 2012. Civilized Colonizers and Barbaric Colonized: Reclaiming Naga Identity by Demythologizing Colonial Portraits. In History and Anthropology 23, 375–397.
_____ 2011. 'To raise the savage to a higher level': the westernization of Nagas and their culture. In Modern Asian Studies 46, 893–918.
_____ 2010. 'Thy Kingdom Come': The Impact of Colonization and Proselytization on Religion among the Nagas. In Journal of Asian and African Studies 45, 595–609.
Tucker, H. 2003. Living with Tourism: Negotiating Identities in a Turkish Village. London: Routledge.
Wang, N. 2000. Tourism and Modernity: A Sociological Analysis. Amsterdam: Pergamon.
West, A. 1994. Writing the Nagas: A British officers’ ethnographic tradition. In History and Anthropology 8, 55–88.
West, A.C. 1985. Nineteenth Century Naga Material Culture. In Museum Ethnographers Group 18, 21–34.
Wettstein, M. 2016. How ethnic identity becomes real: the enactment of identity roles and the material manifestation of shifting identities among the Nagas. In Asian Ethnicity 17, 384–399.
Woodthorpe, R.G. 1882. Notes on the Wild Tribes Inhabiting the So-Called Naga Hills on our North-East Frontier. In Journal of the Anthropological Institute 11, 56–73.
Wouters, J.J.P. 2012. Reconfiguring Colonial Ethnography: The British Gaze over India’s North East. North-East India: A Handbook of Anthropology (ed) T.B. Subba. Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan Private Ltd.
Zou, D. V. 2005. Raiding the dreaded past: Representations of headhunting and human sacrifice in north-east India. In Contributions to Indian Sociology 39, 75–105.
This is an Open Access journal. All material is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) licence, unless otherwise stated.
Please read our Open Access, Copyright and Permissions policies for more information.