Democracy against Development: Lower-Caste Politics and by Jeffrey Witsoe PDF

By Jeffrey Witsoe

Hidden in the back of the much-touted good fortune tale of India’s emergence as an monetary superpower is one other, way more advanced narrative of the nation’s fresh heritage, one within which financial improvement is usually countered by way of profoundly unsettling, and infrequently violent, political activities. In Democracy opposed to Development, Jeffrey Witsoe investigates this counter-narrative, uncovering an hostile courting among contemporary democratic mobilization and development-oriented governance in India.


Witsoe appears on the background of colonialism in India and its position in either shaping glossy caste identities and linking in the neighborhood robust caste teams to kingdom associations, which has successfully created a postcolonial patronage nation. He then appears on the upward push of lower-caste politics in a single of India’s poorest and such a lot populous states, Bihar, exhibiting how this elevate in democratic participation has substantially threatened the patronage kingdom through systematically weakening its associations and disrupting its improvement initiatives. via depicting democracy and improvement as they really are in India—in tension—Witsoe finds the most important new empirical and theoretical insights concerning the long term trajectory of democratization within the greater postcolonial world. 

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Additional resources for Democracy against Development: Lower-Caste Politics and Political Modernity in Postcolonial India

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This is an especially important enterprise considering that accompanying the global expansion of democracy today are secular economic and geopolitical shifts that are likely resulting in a decline of American and European global dominance. If this global shift means that Europe and the United States are in the process of being “provincialized” (Chakrabarty 1999, Knauft 2007), then the Euro-American model of liberal democracy may also be undergoing such a process. This decline of “the West,” combined with the growing awareness that democracy in much of the world is not playing out according to liberal assumptions, means that we should seriously explore alternative ways for understanding democracy in the twenty-first century that go beyond the liberal democratic framework.

Postcolonial Democracy and Hegemonic Practice The “radical indeterminacy” (Lefort 1988) of democratic practice means that, while a focus on processes of colonial/postcolonial state formation is essential for understanding the context within which postcolonial democracy operates, it is insufficient for understanding the ways in which democratic practice transforms this context over time. In other words, the colonial legacy shapes India’s postcolonial democracy in ways that should not be ignored, but it does not predetermine democratic outcomes.

For instance, Laclau and Mouffe’s (1985) insistence on defining “hegemonic articulations” exclusively in terms of “discourse”—a useful approach for understanding “new social movements” in advanced-capitalist democracies—cannot capture the complex relationships between caste identities, state institutions, and local dominance—often backed by recourse to a very material violence—that is central to the practice of democracy in India. It is useful here to consider Ranajit Guha’s (1996) argument that colonialism entailed “dominance without hegemony,” resulting in a sphere of popular politics with a logic other than that of hegemony—that of dominance and subordination.

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