The Romance of the State: And the Fate of Dissent in the Tropics

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Oxford University Press, 2003 - Political Science - 218 pages
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The essays in this volume written as part of psychological biography of the Indian state, explore the scope, limits, and fate of some key concepts in the mainstream culture of politics that have come to structure India's public life. These concepts constitute the dominant public ideology within the consciousness of the expanding middle classes in the country and they range from concrete concerns like 'secularism' and 'development' to more abstract ones such as 'dissent' and 'history'. The essays, mostly inquire into the culture of the Indian state, suggest tangentially the directions in which to move for a cultural and psychological biography of the state. The idea of a moderate state, which was of a state that was neither over-burdened with the responsibility of engineering all aspects of its citizens' lives nor of seeking to extend the market and global capital into every corner of every society, was not unknown to all societies at all times. While such moderate states may not have been great successes and may not have survived, neither can the modern nation-state system claim to be the greatest success story of all times. The question of its survival as an arrangement of political communities, too, remains to be finally decided. The essays in this book explore the vicissitudes of the idea of the modern state under different cultural and psychological conditions.

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The Fate of a Concept
Culture State and the Rediscovery of Indian Politics

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About the author (2003)

Ashis Nandy is at Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

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