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The Vernacularisation of Democracy: Politics, Caste and Religion in India

Lucia Michelutti (Author) Exploring The Political In South Asia
Synopsis During the 1990s Indian democracy witnessed an upsurge in the political participation of lower castes/communities and the emergence of political leaders from humble social backgrounds who presented themselves as promoters of social justice for underprivileged communities. This book is a vivid account of how Indian popular democracy works on the ground. Setting itself against conventional theories of democratisation, the book shows how the  political rise of one of the most assertive and politically powerful communities in north India--the Yadavs--is situated within a wider process of the vernacularisation of democratic politics, foregrounding the ways in which values and practices of democracy become embedded in particular cultural and social practices, and thus become entrenched in the consciousness of common people. Drawing on a large body of archival research and combining ethnographic material with colonial and post-colonial history, the book shows how the analysis of local idioms of caste, kinship, kingship, popular religion, 'the past' and politics ('the vernacular) inform popular perceptions of the political world, and how the democratic process in turn shapes ideas and practices of 'the vernacular'. It provides a novel framework to understand the unique experience of Indian democracy, as well as the rise of popular politics and its meaning in different parts  of the world. Scholars of comparative politics, development politics, religious studies, urban studies, anthropology and social history will find this book especially interesting.
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About the author

Lucia Michelutti

Lucia Michelutti is Research Fellow at the Department of Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political Science. She has worked extensively on local politics, caste, race, religion and democracy in northern India and, more recently, in Venezuela. She is currently investigating the social and cultural practices of popular politics and the dynamics of new forms of socialism in Latin America (Venezuela) and South Asia (India). Her forthcoming book, provisionally entitled 'Socialism Reborn: The Everyday Life of Hugo Chavez's Revolutionary Venezuela'; explores how anti-capitalist and socialist political discourses have regained power in contemporary times.

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Bibliographic information

Title The Vernacularisation of Democracy: Politics, Caste and Religion in India
Format Hardcover
Date published: 31.12.2008
Edition Ist ed.
Language: English
isbn 9780415467322
length xxi+253 p., Tables; Figures; Map; Index; Bibliography; Glossary; Appendix; Abb.; 22cm.