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This project examines how transgressions give shape, direction and speed to South Asia’s vibrant societal dynamics, paying particular attention to the conditions behind their acceleration during the past 25-30 years.

Illustration: Marius Lund

About the Project

Given its multifarious historical past, heterogeneous population and whirlwind societal changes, the South Asian region emerges as an exceptionally fertile site for a concerted study of transgressions. Transgressions may be both deliberate and unintentional and promote change, conflict and stability alike. What they have in common is a certain contingency, if not risk, that can be conceptualized as a moment of liminality that holds potential to catapult events in all directions and thus form the seed for the study of the unexpected. Another commonalty is their capacity for providing a methodological window onto unarticulated social orders, the violation of which tends to generate societal dynamics of a kind that defies regular political deliberation.

In this project we ask: How do transgressions unfold? What are the conditions that helped pave the way for an accelerated transgression dynamics in recent decades – across widely different political regimes, legal traditions and religious sensibilities?


The individual contributions to the project consist of grounded case studies selected and analyzed in ways that throw light on transgression dynamics across South Asia as well as on the role of South Asia and South Asians in global processes that make cosmological principles irrupt into the political.

Book launch

Outrage: The Rise of Religious Offence in Contemporary South Asia will be launched at an event at Litteraturhuset, Oslo, 18 October 5 pm.

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Tags: India, Pakistan, Religion and politics
Published Nov. 10, 2014 9:01 AM - Last modified Sep. 27, 2019 5:50 PM