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Critical Studies in Politics is a collection of essays that redefines the discipline of political science. It brings into view objects of study not normally visible to the discipline, through a creative engagement with other disciplinary formations.
The volume is divided into four broad intersecting sections. The question of constructions of selfhood emerges as a central pre-occupation in the first titled ‘Exploring Selfhood'. The essays in this section--ranging from the modern Dalit self to the construction of the Asura over time--investigate the construction of the Self in the face of the Other; and looks at selfhood, not so much as a question of past cultural memory but as self-fashioning in the present.
The second section--'Spatiality and Power'--analyses the idea of spatiality and explains its relationship with power. It discusses issues ranging from urbanisation and the politics of SEZs, to the entry of cinema halls in Delhi, and its implications for the formation of the 'public'. The third section titled 'State and Governmentality' examines state practices as they render legible various aspects of populations--from prison labour under colonialism to the organisation of official memory by the postcolonial state.
'Reconfiguring Categories of Thought'--the final section--seeks to unsettle conceptual categories such as 'capitalism', 'science', 'politics' and 'development'.
Located in the 'interstices of disciplines', these essays by scholars from mainstream political science departments are at once contemporary and historical. This volume will be of interest to students and scholars of political science, film and culture studies, gender studies and anthropology.
Nivedita Menon is Professor, Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Theory, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.
Aditya Nigam is Senior Fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.
Sanjay Palshikar is Professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad.
List of Table and Photographs
Nivedita Menon, Aditya Nigam and Sanjay Palshikar
Section 1: Exploring Selfhood
1. Asuras Through the Ages
2. Reading a Pilgrimage Site: ‘Other’ Routes to Dalit: Assertion in Contemporary Times
3. The Ascetic Modality: A Critique of Communist Self-fashioning
4. Addressing Religious Belief in Political Theory: Conversations with Shia Women in Delhi
Section 2: Spatiality and Power
5. Chronicle of a Death Untold: The Lethal Geographies of Delhi’s Periphery
6. In Pursuit of the Cultural Core at the Margin of India
G. Amarjit Sharma
7. Politics and Cultures of Cinema: Delhi 1920–40
Section 3: State and Governmentality
8. Assault and Assuage: Identification Documents, Colonial Rationalities and Epidemic Control in British India
9. Convict Labour and Economy in British Colonial India: Through the Lens of Prison Management and Private Industry
10. Population Control in India: Politics of a Science Called ‘Demography’
11. An ‘Official’ Memory of India: Monuments, Memorials and Samadhis as Political Texts
Section 4: Reconfiguring Categories of Thought
12. Crisis and Critique: Diagnosis of the Present in the Nationalist Discourse in Hindi (1870–1908)
13. Cooking up Nature: Science in the World of Politics
14. ‘Molecular Economies’: Is There an ‘Outside’ to Capital?
15. The Path Not Taken? Contesting Development in Newly Independent India
Notes on the Contributors