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Democracy and Social Change in India

V B Singh (Author) Subrata K. Mitra (Author)
Synopsis Despite widespread poverty and illiteracy, and religious and linguistic heterogeneity, India continues to sustain a viable and fairly orderly democratic government. The resilience of Indian democracy in the face of these problems coupled with the challenges posed by modernisation and accelerated social change, is explained in this book with reference to the cultural, institutional and social context of India's competitive and free and fair electoral process. The authors substantiate their views by drawing on a nation-wide survey conducted in 1996 in which over 10,000 Indian voters, representing a cross-section of the country's electorate, were interviewed. The result is this insightful account of how India's citizens evaluate the structure and process of Indian democracy. The book begins with a theoretical introduction to major schools of thought in the area of social change. This is followed by an analysis of how Indians view their state and their government and the intersection of both in terms of the everyday reality of social competition for power. A sociological profile of the electorate is then provided, followed by an empirical analysis of a number of important issues arising from the juxtaposition of democracy and social change in India. The questions that are dealt with in detail are: is there a limit to the consensus on various aspects of state-society relations? What are the social bases of different political parties? Is there a generation gap in the views of the electorate? Does the political rhetoric of regionalism find a resonance in the opinion of the people? Is India a nation in the conventional sense or merely an accidental melting pot of separate communities? What are the popular perceptions regarding the direction of the Indian economy in the context of liberalisation and deregulation? Based on original opinion data and innovative statistical analysis, this topical study tells the story of the relative success of Indian democracy in coping with the processes of modernisation and social change. It will be of interest to policy makers, political scientists, psephologists, sociologists and those involved in development studies as well as providing the general reader with an insight into the mysterious process of the making of social choice.
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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 Democracy and Social Change in India
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.1999
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 817036809X
length 341p., Tables.