Overview for Culture, Space and the Nation-State: From Sentiment to Structure
This unusual book extends the concerns of anthropology beyond the study of village life, rituals and caste observances to include considerations of the nation-state. Dipankar Gupta employs the analytical framework of the concept of culture combined with practical examples from everyday life to interpret Governance, citizenship and fraternity. He concludes that ostensibly political institutions have in fact deep cultural roots. Professor Gupta argues that the significance of culture lies in the fact that it informs the way people interact with each other in defined spaces. The nation-state being one such space, it should therefore be seen as an important cultural phenomenon and not merely as lineaments on a map. Only when the nation-state is understood as a cultural phenomenon can the passions it arouses be better understood. The book is divided into two parts, the first is based on the premise that only in a defned space can there be a clear conception of cultural membership. This conceptualization is then extended to include cultural membership of the nation-state and the territorial space such membership connotes. Part one concludes that as nation-states are bound by strong sentiments of identity they are best understood as cultural phenomena. However, these sentiments need to be buttressed by structures of governance which bring people together by keeping alive the principles of citizenship, and fraternity. Part two uses examples from daily life to examine the phenomena of citizenship, civil society, fraternity, reservation and protecting minorities in the light of the above conceptualization. With its unique approach to the study of the nation-state and its strong analytical and theoretical bases, this book will be of immense interest to sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists and those in the fields of cultural studies and the study of social systems. It will also serve as a text or supplementary reading for students in these disciplines.
Dipankar Gupta (Author)
Dipankar Gupta is Professor of Sociology at the School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. The author of Rivalry and Brotherhood: Politics in the Life of Farmers in Northern India (OUP, 1997), The Context of Ethnicity: Sikh Identity in a Comparative Perspective (OUP, 1996), he has also edited Social Stratification (OUP, 1991) and more recently Anti-Utopia: Essential Writings of Andre Beteille (OUP, 2005). He is also co-editor of Contributions to Indian Sociology.