Originally published in 2003, this volume studies village politics and the changes brought about in rural society through political developments. It focuses on the social, political and cultural circumstances of communist mobilization in rural West Bengal. It analyses the emergence of rural communism in the local context of changes in the position of women, in caste practices, in economic conditions and in new efforts to create ‘development’. It investigates how this cultural change interacts with the mechanisms and tools of village politics, and using anthropological methods and oral history as tools, allows for a detailed and intimate ethnographic description of village politics and its changes.

1. Anthropology and History of Village Politics 2. Small Communities in Landscape and History 3. Two Stories About Power and Influence 4. Road, Poetry and Some Crafty Young Men 5. Caste Stereotypes and Communist Mobilization 6. Formal Politics and Informal Politics 7. Gossip and Reputation: The Making of Village Leaders 8. Conclusion.