We live in times where theory is often understood as irrelevant in the real world. It appears to have no practical results. This has been further complicated in a post-fact world, where our ‘identities’ and ‘perception’ have become the final judges of truth.
Sociology/social anthropology, in contrast, rests on a fundamental distinction between commonsense and theoretically informed knowledge. It teaches us to get rid of ‘perceptions’ and alerts us to go beyond taken-for-granted ideas. The paradox is that although theory is taught as a mandatory paper in sociology, it is either reduced to a topic in the syllabi or used as ceremonial citations.
Emphasising that theories emerge in specific historical contexts and are embedded in economic, political, social, cultural, institutional, and intellectual processes, this volume takes a new approach by highlighting the sociological paths through which theories travel and are adopted by institutions in different parts of the country.
The contributors explore:
Maitrayee Chaudhuri is Professor of Sociology, Centre for the Study of Social Systems, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Manish Thakur is Professor of Sociology, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Joka, Kolkata.
List of Abbreviations
Maitrayee Chaudhuri and Manish Thakur
Part I: Theorising the ‘Indigenous’, ‘National’, ‘Local’, and ‘Postcolonial’
2. The Quest for Indigenous Theory: Then and Now
3. The Work of the ‘Local’
4. Theorising the Nation-state: Hegemonic Discourses and Counter-narratives
5. The Politics of Social Theory: A Critical Analysis of the Caste–Modernity Paradigm
Part II: Disassembling Theory: Understanding Absences, Presences and Schisms
6. Notes towards a Renewal of Industrial Sociology in India
7. Media in Indian Sociology: Contexts, Making and Theorising
8. The Schism between Teaching Theory and Doing Method: The Practice of Sociology
9. ‘Social’ Research in a Media Organisation
Part III: Ethnography and Theory
10. Understanding Prison Sociality: Objects, Surveillance and Everyday Life
11. ‘For the Skin is Faster than the Word’: Towards an Ethnography of Affect
12. Oral History with Women Naxalites and Hindu Rioters: Questions of Epistemology and Ethics
Part IV: Theory: Disjunctions, Travels and Effects
13. Theorising Experience: On Critical Pedagogy and the Subject Matter of Caste
14. Anti-Caste Awareness: Inside and Outside the Classroom
16. Reading Theory Backwards: A Worm’s Eye View
Notes on the Contributors