Skip to main content

PARTHA THE PROLIFIC (but can he overtake the Tambrams Sanjay Subrahmanyam and Ram Guha?)

Topnotch social scientists within South Asian Studies do not average more than three or four books over their career. Among the major exceptions are Partha Chatterjee, Sanjay Subrahmanyam, and Ram Guha. Everything Chatterjee writes makes a big impact across the disciplines. Political philosophers, social theorists, historians, and students of cultural studies all grapple with his ideas and paradigm shaking interventions. Permanent Black and Columbia University Press are jointly publishing Chatterjee's next pathbreaking exploration of his concept of "political society", a term as hotly debated as '"Subaltern Studies" two decades earlier ...


PARTHA CHATTERJEE
Lineages of Political Society
Studies in Postcolonial Democracy


In Lineages of Political Society the eminent political theorist Partha Chatterjee reveals the emergence of a new theory of postcolonial democracy. As against earlier ideas about the nature of democracy—which grew predominantly out of notions and practices in the West—Chatterjee powerfully argues that the theory now in evidence is not merely a record of the imperfections and immaturity of democracy in the non-Western world. On the contrary, it has devised concepts and analytical tools to understand the formation of new democratic practices. In doing so, it has also shown up histories of modern political institutions which are not part of the genealogy of Western democracy.

In the course of making the
se arguments Chatterjee revisits several themes introduced in his acclaimed earlier work, The Politics of the Governed (2004). To those themes he now adds historical depth and contemporary empirical detail. And although most of the examples in Lineages of Political Society are drawn from India, the arguments within it afford comparisons with countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Chatterjee also here clarifies the location of his work in relation to liberal political theory, understandings of contemporary capitalism, and theories of nationalism and populism. In several chapters he joins the lively and ongoing debate over his concept of “political society”.

This work will be indispensable for anyone wishing to understand the nature and history of democracy, its practices and functionings within the contemporary non-West, and the major expansion in political thought being brought about by one of the world’s most fertile political philosophers.

PARTHA CHATTERJEE has been a founding member of “Subaltern Studies” and director of the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (CSSSC), Kolkata. He is presently professor of anthropology at Columbia University and honorary professor at the CSSSC. His many books include Empire and Nation: Essential Writings 1985–2005 (2010), A Princely Impostor? The Kumar of Bhawal and the Secret History of Indian Nationalism (2002), and The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories (1993).

hardback / 290pp + 24 colour illustrations / Rs 750 / 81-7824-317-2 / South Asia rights / June 2011 / copublished by Columbia University Press

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

THE GREAT AGRARIAN CONQUEST by NEELADRI BHATTACHARYA

BUY THE PAPERBACK       FROM THE REVIEWS   Review in SOCIAL HISTORY, USA by Benjamin Siegel The Great Agrarian Conquest represents a massive intervention into the contemporary historiography of South Asia, elaborating upon some conventional wisdom but upending a great deal more of it. Readers might well place this book in conversation with works like Ranajit Guha ’ s A Rule of Property for Bengal (1963) and Bernard Cohn ’ s Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge (1997), to which The Great Agrarian Conquest owes some preliminary inspiration. Yet what Bhattacharya o ff ers is a wholly original account of the transformation to agrarian colonialism . . .   Few volumes in South Asian history have been more awaited than this monograph, Neeladri Bhattacharya ’ s fi rst. One of the most celebrated mentors and researchers at New Delhi ’ s Jawaharlal Nehru University, Bhattacharya retired in 2017 after a decades-long career. His formal scholarly output, limited to sev

PARTHA CHATTERJEE: THE TRUTHS AND LIES OF NATIONALISM as narrated by Charvak

"While the Covid-19 pandemic was still raging in the autumn of 2020, I found, one evening, placed outside the door of my home in Kolkata, a sealed packet. Apparently, it had been left there sometime during the day. It did not come by post or any of the courier services that usually deliver mail because, if it had, someone would have rung the bell and I was home all day. In fact, the parcel did not bear any seal or inscription except my name and address written in English script in a confident cursive style rarely seen these days. My curiosity was aroused because the package did not look like a piece of junk mail. The thought that it might contain something more sinister did strike my mind – after all, the times were not exactly normal. But something in the look of the packet persuaded me that it should be examined. After dutifully spraying the packet with a disinfectant, I unwrapped it and found, within cardboard covers and neatly tied in red string, what looked like a manuscript

THE BOOK OF INDIAN ESSAYS

Indians have been writing prose for 200 years, and yet when we think of literary prose we think of the novel. The “essay”   brings only the school essay to mind. Those of us who read and write English in India might find it hard to name an essay even by someone like R.K. Narayan as easily as we would one of his novels, say Swami and Friends or The Guide . Our inability to recall essays is largely due to the strange paradox that while the form itself remains invisible, it is everywhere present. The paradox becomes even more strange when we realise that some of our finest writers of English prose  did not write novels at all, they wrote essays. The anthology is an attempt at making what has always been present also permanently visible. Arvind Krishna Mehrotra   • A collection of the finest essays written in English by Indians over the past two hundred years. • The Book of Indian Essays is a wide-ranging historical anthology of the Indian essay in English – the f