The colonial government, for all its homilies about the need to uplift those oppressed by the religious tyranny of traditional Hinduism, could only look after the untouchables as its subjects. It could never give them citizenship.
Philippine Politics Under Duterte: A Midterm Assessment
Only under an independent national constitution was citizenship conceivable for the untouchables. The community then faced difficulty establishing these rights because of their own marginal status. For instance, how do you get the government to improve the sewage when the community has not been paying taxes? I just learned that it has been impossible to do so because there is no government officer appointed to the community who is able to receive the petition. In this Becketesque context, it makes sense that politics should take the form of a group of young people engaged in Brechtian street theatre.
Chatterjee cites numerous similar examples from West Bengal, even including theater troupes!
The squatters, on their part, admit that their occupation of public land is both illegal and contrary to good civic life. But they make the claim to a habitation and a livelihood as a matter of right and use their association as the principal collective instrument to pursue that claim. Population groups are made up of subjects, whereas communities are made up of citizens. By combining these essays between the covers of a single volume, Chatterjee has given us a major and urgent work that provides a full perspective on the possibilities and limits of democracy in the postcolonial world.
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Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jul 25, Sidney Luckett rated it it was amazing. Essential reading for anybody trying to understand the socio-political dynamics of a postcolonial country. Sep 22, Preethi Krishnan rated it really liked it. Through his theorization of the concept of political society Chatterjee differentiates between universal right bearing citizens of the imagined sovereign nationhood from populations or subjects who are categorized by the state to implement development policies.
He argues that the idea of civil society often assumes the narrative of a homogeneous nation that provides equal rights to all its inhabitants. However, according to Chatterjee, most of the poor both in rural and urban contexts seldom take on the role of right bearing citizens in a context where the government only sees them as targets for welfare policies. What this leads to, is a different kind of mobilization from that seen in the scope of civil society.
To effectively direct those benefits toward them, they must succeed in applying the right pressure at the right places in the governmental machinery. This would frequently mean the bending or stretching of rules, because existing procedures have historically worked to exclude or marginalize them. They must, therefore, succeed in mobilizing population groups to produce a local political consensus that can effectively work against the distribution of power in society as a whole.
This possibility is opened up by the working of political society. When school teachers gain the trust of the rural community to plead the case of the poor and secure the confidence of the administrators to find a local consensus that will stick, they do not embody the trust generated among equal members of a civic community. On the con- trary, they mediate between domains that are differentiated by deep and historically entrenched inequalities of power.
He acknowledges that such a political society could be seen as a space where people make claims from the government. However, the asymmetry in information and the lack of knowledge would make unequal distribution of benefits a legal outcome.
The Politics of the Governed
And such expansion of freedoms happens through paralegal processes and collective claims that appeal to moral solidarity. Thus the conceptualization of political society offers several new ways of thinking of claims-making particularly in a context of new development policies and informality. Jan 05, Pete rated it really liked it Shelves: comps , governance-and-expertise. I think I can usefully link this to Callon et al. Brian Silverstein. Shelves: academic , course-reading. I really enjoyed this book and appreciated the distinction between the idealized citizen and the political relationships of populations to the governing bodies through various bureaucratic and administrative interactions.
That said, I think I prefer the way that Barbara Cruikshank handles this dynamic by shifting the definition of citizenship to include subjecthood thus making everyone KINDS of citizens rather than his separation between citizen and population thus excluding the majority of t I really enjoyed this book and appreciated the distinction between the idealized citizen and the political relationships of populations to the governing bodies through various bureaucratic and administrative interactions.
That said, I think I prefer the way that Barbara Cruikshank handles this dynamic by shifting the definition of citizenship to include subjecthood thus making everyone KINDS of citizens rather than his separation between citizen and population thus excluding the majority of the population from citizenship. Nov 10, morning Os rated it liked it Shelves: history-general , half-read , colonial-studies.
Easy to read compared to many books written by other thinkers with the similar scope of analysis. LJ rated it really liked it Nov 07, Cleary rated it it was amazing Apr 07, Casey rated it it was amazing Nov 30, Bruce Huang rated it liked it Apr 08, Andrea rated it really liked it Apr 26, Subir rated it it was amazing May 06, Harshita rated it liked it Feb 08, Anil Kumar m k rated it really liked it Jan 06,