Rethinking Social Justice
S. Anandhi, Karthick Ram Manoharan, M. Vijayabaskar and A. Kalaiyarasan
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
Territorial Rights
Orient BlackSwan

The discourse of social justice has been much contested in India ever since the time of the Mandal Commission report. Nearly four decades on, debates on culture and identity remain strong. Rather than studying the concept of social justice in isolation, in distinct social, political or economic terms, Rethinking Social Justice offers a more transdisciplinary approach to envisioning a just society that encompasses the intersecting issues of caste, capital, nationalism, gender, region, urban planning and visual representation.

Divided into five broad thematic sections—Politics of Culture and Identity; Critical Social History; Nation and the Region; Political Economy; and Cinema and Society—this volume brings together perspectives from across disciplines to rethink the question of social justice, in the process opening up a view of the panorama of Indian politics.

This collection is an homage to M. S. S. Pandian who, through his writings on political economy, Dravidian politics, film studies, and social and intellectual history, interrogated questions of caste, identity and cultural elitism in his broader quest for social justice. In this volume, eminent scholars—friends and colleagues of Pandian—enter into a dialogue with Pandian’s life-work, cut short by his untimely demise in 2014. They build upon his legacy to not only critically evaluate politics and society, but also subject mainstream culture to an equally critical evaluation.

Social scientists, activists, journalists, policymakers and film critics will find immense value in this insightful collection of essays.

S. Anandhi is Professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai.

Karthick Ram Manoharan is Assistant Professor of Political Science, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta.

M. Vijayabaskar is Professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai.

A. Kalaiyarasan is Assistant Professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai.

List of Abbreviations
List of Tables and Figures


Partha Chatterjee


The Legacy of a Dravidian Scholar
S. Anandhi, Karthick Ram Manoharan, M. Vijayabaskar and A. Kalaiyarasan

Politics of Culture and Identity
1. The Manifesto and the Modern Self
Reading the Autobiography of Muthulakshmi Reddy
S. Anandhi
2. Lohia’s Immanent Critique of Caste and Religion
Arun Kumar Patnaik

Critical Social History
3. Divinity, Denial and the Embodied Self
Changing Perspectives on Untouchability and the Case of the Hagiographies of Dalit Bhaktas
Sundar Kaali
4. ‘Self’ Rather than the ‘Other’
Towards a Subjective Ethnography of the Kani Community
M. Arivalagan
5. Mudumalai’s Logics
Governmentalising ‘Forests’ and Conservation Subjects
Ajit Menon

Nation and the Region
6. Rereading Anna’s Arya Mayai
Reflections on C. N. Annadurai and the Cultural Politics of the Dravidian Movement
V. Ravi Vaithees
7. An Ethic beyond Anti-colonialism
A Periyarist Engagement with Fanonism
Karthick Ram Manoharan

Political Economy
8. Re-envisioning a City
Chennai as Exhibition/Museum/Backyard
A. Srivathsan and M. S. S. Pandian
9. Emerging Labour Regimes and Mobilities in Tamil Nadu
M. Vijayabaskar
10. Politics of Dravidian Populism
Understanding Developmental Outcomes in Tamil Nadu
A. Kalaiyarasan
11. Tenancy Reforms in Tamil Nadu
A Study from the Cauvery Delta Region
J. Jeyaranjan

Cinema and Society
12. Mastering the Traumatic
Hey Ram and its Cultural Narcissism
Venkatesh Chakravarthy
13. Political Surplus in Retrospect
On the Decline of Cinematic Sovereignties
M. Madhava Prasad

Notes on the Editors and Contributors
Release Date : 24-Feb-2020 Venue : Jadunath Bhavan Museum and Resource Centre (JBMRC), a unit of the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (CSSSC).
1. Book Review | Published in the Economic & Political Weekly, 11 February 2023.
2. De-centring Indian politics: remembering M. S. S.Pandian | publihsed in the journals Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, 12 January 2021.
3. Nuances of Tamil Politics and Culture | The Book Review, 12 December 2020.
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