Critical Studies in Politics: Book discussion

A book discussion on Critical Studies in Politics: Exploring Sites, Selves, Power  (Edited by Nivedita Menon, Aditya Nigam and Sanjay Palshikar) was held on 8 August 2014 at CSDS. The discussants were Sudipta Kaviraj, Sanjay Palshikar and Rajshree Chandra.

The book is a collection of essays that attempts to redefine the boundaries of political science. It brings into view objects of study not normally visible to the discipline, through a creative engagement with other disciplinary formations.

The volume is divided into four broad intersecting sections. The question of constructions of selfhood emerges as a central pre-occupation in the first titled ‘Exploring Selfhood'. The essays in this section-ranging from the modern Dalit self to the construction of the Asura over time - investigate the construction of the Self in the face of the Other; and looks at selfhood, not so much as a question of past cultural memory but as self-fashioning in the present.

The second section-'Spatiality and Power'-analyses the idea of spatiality and explains its relationship with power. It discusses issues ranging from urbanisation and the politics of SEZs, to notions of core and periphery in the margins, and to the entry of cinema halls in Delhi and the formation of the 'public'. The third section titled 'State and Governmentality' examines state practices as they render legible various aspects of populations - from prison labour under colonialism to the organisation of official memory by the postcolonial state. 'Reconfiguring Categories of Thought'-the final section-seeks to unsettle conceptual categories such as 'capitalism', 'science', 'politics' and 'development'.

Friday, 8 August 2014
CSDS Seminar Room