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Culture and Rationality: The Politics of Social Change in Post-Colonial India

Subrata K. Mitra (Author)
Synopsis This important book discusses the politics of social change in independent India. Using the post-colonial state as the backdrop, it addresses the theoretical issues of transformation in a multi-cultural and hierarchical society which is coping with the twin challenges of democratisation and development. According to the author, the main theoretical problem arises from the fact that the institutions and processes through which the objectives of social change should be realised often carry the stamp of an alien culture and therefore do not enjoy the legitimacy they must have in order to be effective. Professor Subrata Mitra problematises these issues through discussions of the models and methods of social change, the interaction between modern institutions and traditional society, and the formation and integration of the modern Indian state. The essays in part I examine variously certain 'Western' models of Indian politics; religion and politics; and the relevance of caste. Part II deals with politics and the social process. Among the issues discussed are the anti-reservation movement; subnational movements and local elites; and transformation of the party system. The final section is devoted to analysing the state in the context of social change. By drawing upon both the instrumental rationality of the actor and the role of culture and religion which serve as the springboard for values, the author combines rational choice theory and critical culturalism to show how individual decisions translate into collective action. The author thus stresses the role of local political processes in order to understand the resilience of the Indian state. Extremely stimulating and theoretically sound, this book will be of interest to those in the fields of politics, sociology, anthropology and political and social theory.
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About the author

Subrata K. Mitra

Subrata K. Mitra is Professor and Head, Department of Political Science, South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg.

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Bibliographic information

Title Culture and Rationality: The Politics of Social Change in Post-Colonial India
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.1999
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8170367794
length 438p.
Subjects History