Social Movements in India

Poverty, Power, and Politics

Edited by Raka Ray, Mary Fainsod Katzenstein

Publication date:

31 March 2005

Length of book:

320 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9780742538429

Social movements have played a vital role in Indian politics since well before the inception of India as a new nation in 1947. During the Nehruvian era, from Independence to Nehru's death in 1964, poverty alleviation was a foundational standard against which policy proposals and political claims were measured; at this time, movement activism was directly accountable to this state discourse. However, the role of social movements in India has shifted during the last several decades to accompany a changed political focus—from state to market and from reigning ideologies of secularism to credos of religious nationalism. In the first volume to focus on poverty and class in its analysis of social movements, a group of leading India scholars shows how social movements have had to change because poverty reduction no longer serves its earlier role as a political template. Nonetheless, particular sectors of social movement politics remain the holding vessels for India's egalitarian conscience. With distinctive chapters on gender, lower castes, environment, the Hindu Right, Kerala, labor, farmers, and biotechnology, Social Movements in India will be attractive to students and researchers in many different disciplines.

Contributions by: Amita Baviskar, Anuradha Chakravarty, Vivek Chibber, Gopal Guru, Patrick Heller, Ron Herring, Mary John, Mary Fainsod Katzenstein, Neema Kudva, Gail Omvedt, Raka Ray, and Tanika Sarkar.
This seminal anthology embeds the study of social movements just where it belongs, in the workings of state-society relations and democratic politics. It carefully charts changing patterns of social mobilization while identifying diverse and contradictory trends in each epoch. It underlines both the extraordinary significance of social movements and the extraordinary challenges of combining commitments to redistribution and poverty alleviation with other issues and identities.