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The Grassroots of Democracy: Field Studies of Indian Elections

A.M. Shah (Editor)

The Grassroots of Democracy Conceived by India?s most influential modern anthropologist M.N. Srinivas and his eminent colleague A.M. Shah, who has also edited it, this book contains essays based on field studies of two national elections in India?s rural, tribal, and urban communities within ten Indian states.  The studies were conducted by sixteen sociologists at the Delhi School of Economics under the direction of Srinivas and Shah.  Demonstrating the importance of fieldwork for studying elections (as compared to the questionnaire and interview method),  this book provides a novel perspective on elections, very different from the usual interpretation of statistics.  Here, the sociologist?s micro view contrasts with the macro-view of political scientist Yogendra Yadav.  Among the many reasons for the importance of this book as a departure in electoral studies is the thoroughgoing manner in which it questions the general assumption of the rational individual as the sole arbiter of voting behaviour.  It analyses the role of social factors in electoral processes and delineates the continuity between local, regional, and national politics.  In so doing it reveals how Indian democracy actually operates.  With its diverse narratives and jargon-fee descriptions, this book will be accessible to non-specialists interested in political and social processes during the drama-filled times when India goes to the polls.  It will greatly interest anthropologists, journalists, and psephologists.

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About the author

A.M. Shah

A.M. Shah (b. 1931), a student and later a colleague of M.N. Srinivas at the universities of Baroda and Delhi, is well known for his studies on the family, caste, village community, and historical sociology. He has held visiting fellowships at a variety of universities and institutes within India and abroad.

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Bibliographic information

Title The Grassroots of Democracy: Field Studies of Indian Elections
Author A.M. Shah
Format Hardcover
Date published: 09.01.2007
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher Permanent Black
Language: English
isbn 9788178241807
length xii+379p.