ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Tyranny of Theory

case), Varshney not merely confounds his analysis of the constituents of the rural economic interest itself but also posits conflicts between economic interests and non-economic identities. Since the author takes these identities to exist apart from or uncorrected with class positions, it is far from evident that these constitute limits on the exercise of rural power. After all, people who have identical economic interests vis-a-vis other classes in society may unite to press their joint economic claims notwithstanding their separate non-economic identities. At any rate, the author provides little argument and no evidence for the assertion that the identity constraint runs ''deeper than the economic constraint" (p 5), the latter being the aforementioned technological and fiscal limits on producer subsidies. In fact, at this level of generality, there remain no THE book under review, which is the third one on colonial south India by Eugene Irschick, attempts anew generalisation about colonialism. His thesis in this book is rather straightforward. According to him, colonial institutions and discursive formations around them were not coercive impositions from above by the colonisers, but were products of heteroglot and dialogic interactions between the colonisers and the colonised. As he puts it, "British and local interpreters participated equally in constructing new institutions with a new way of thinking to produce a new kind of knowledge". The book arrives at this generalisation through an analysis of the East India Company's experiments with land revenue settlement in the Chingleput region of Tamil Nadu during the 19th century.

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