Fascinating in its combination of personal stories and analytical insights, Some Trouble with Cows will help students of conflict understand how a seemingly irrational and archaic riot becomes a means for renegotiating the distribution of power and rights in a small community.
Using first-person accounts of Hindus and Muslims in a remote Bangladeshi village, Beth Roy evocatively describes and analyzes a large-scale riot that profoundly altered life in the area in the 1950s. She provides a rare glimpse into the hearts and minds of the participants and their families, while touching on a range of broader issues that are vital to the sociology of communities in conflict: the changing meaning of community; the impact of the state on local society; the nature of memory; and the force of neighborly enmity in reshaping power relationships during periods of change.
Roy's findings illustrate important theoretical issues in psychology and sociology, and her conclusions will greatly interest students of ethnic/race relations, conflict resolution, the sociology of violence, agrarian society, and South Asia.
Beth Roy lived in India from 1965 to 1972 and has returned frequently. She is the author of Bullock Carts and Motor Bikes (1972) and On a Tree of Trouble: Tribes of India in Crisis (1974). She has a doctorate in sociology and currently lives in San Francisco, where she practices mediation and writes and teaches about communities in conflict.
"This is an extremely important piece of work. In an unpretentious fashion, Roy challenges the traditional wisdom on communal riots and raises bold new questions about how they might be understood. A lucid piece of writing, Some Trouble with Cows is a pleasure to read."—Amrita Basu, author of The Two Faces of Protest
"A brilliant contribution to the study of group conflict, written with immediacy and clarity."—Bob Blauner, author of Black Lives, White Lives