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Doing Theory: Locations, Hierarchies and Disjunctions

Maitrayee Chaudhuri (Editor) Manish Thakur (Editor)

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:

the search for an ‘indigenous’ theory within sociology in India;

critically examine the construction of the ‘local’ and the ‘postcolonial’;

theorise the ‘nation’ and ‘nationalism’, caste and modernity, industrial and media sociology;

study the disconnect between theory taught within the classroom and theory practised in the world outside.

Contents: 1. Introduction/Maitrayee Chaudhuri and Manish Thakur. Part I: Theorising the ‘Indigenous’, ‘National’, ‘Local’ and ‘Postcolonial’. 2. The quest for indigenous theory: then and now/Manish Thakur. 3. The work of the ‘Local’/Upal Chakrabarti. 4. Theorising the nation-state: hegemonic discourses and counter-narratives/Tanweer Fazal. 5. The politics of social theory: a critical analysis of the caste-modernity paradigm/Gayatri Nair. Part II: Disassembling Theory: Understanding Absences, Presences and Schisms. 6. Notes towards a renewal of industrial sociology in India/Aardra Surendran. 7. Media in Indian sociology: contexts, making and theorizing/Jesna Jayachandran. 8. The schism between teaching theory and doing method: the practice of sociology/Amites Mukhopadhyay. 9. ‘Social’ research in a media organization/Sushree Panigrahi. Part III: Ethnography and Theory. 10. Understanding prison sociality: objects, surveillance and everyday life/Mahuya Bandyopadhyay. 11. ‘For the skin is faster than the word’: towards an ethnography of affect/Sukanya Sarbadhikary. 12. Oral history with women naxalites and hindu rioters: questions of epistemology and ethics/Chitralekha Dhamija. Part IV: Theory: Disjunctions, Travels and Effects. 13. Theorising experience: on critical pedagogy and the subject matter of caste/Ratheesh Kumar. 14. Anti-caste awareness: inside and outside the classroom/Pushpesh Kumar. 15. Chasing Pareto/Hia Sen. 16. Reading theory backwards: a worm’s eye view/Maitrayee Chaudhuri. Notes on the contributors. Index.

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About the author

Maitrayee Chaudhuri

Maitrayee Chaudhuri teaches Sociology at the Centre for the Study of Social Systems, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She has written widely on different aspects of gender studies. Her earlier works include The Indian Women's Movement: Reform and Revival and The Practice of Sociology. Her current research interests are cultural and political aspects of globalization, and pedagogical questions.

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Bibliographic information

Title Doing Theory: Locations, Hierarchies and Disjunctions
Format Softcover
Date published: 07.08.2018
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 9789352873647
length 392p.