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Re-framing Democracy and Agency in India: Interrogating Political Society (Anthem South Asian Studies) [Hardcover]

Ajay Gudavarthy

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Book Description

1 Mar 2012 Anthem South Asian Studies

‘Re-framing Democracy and Agency in India: Interrogating Political Society’ critically unpacks the concept of ‘political society’, which was formulated as a response to the idea of civil society in the postcolonial context. The volume’s case studies, drawn from across India and combined with a sharp focus on the concept of political society, provide those interested in Indian democracy and its changing patterns with an indispensable collection of works, brought together in their common pursuit of highlighting the limitations of different core concepts as formulated by Chatterjee. Centred around five themes – the relation between the civil and the political; the role of middlemen and their impact on the mobility of subaltern groups; elites and leadership; the fragmentation and intra-subaltern conflicts and their implications for subaltern agency; and the idea of moral claims and moral community – this volume re-frames issues of democracy and agency in India within a wider scope than has ever been published before, and gathers ideas from some of the foremost scholars in the field. The volume concludes with a rejoinder from Partha Chatterjee.

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‘[This book] is an informed debate on political society with Partha Chaterjee. […] [It] mark[s] out a territory that needs attention from scholars on Indian politics as it is only upon naming and categorizing varied political practices that one can refine and clarify them.’ —Ankita Pandey, ‘Studies in Indian Politics’


‘This volume offers rich theoretical and empirical engagement with Partha Chatterjee’s idea of political society, and critically navigates the interface between political society and the dynamics of resistance in India’s emerging social reality, arguing that it is the struggles that lie beyond survival strategies that are imperative for democratisation. By posing questions of democracy and agency, these essays comprise a significant advance in the debate on civil and political society, and move towards presenting alternative interpretations of popular politics in contemporary post-colonial societies.’ —Professor Zoya Hasan, Jawaharlal Nehru University

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