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

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On Mirroring the Social

Can Felt-Ontology Alone Inform the Theory?

The Cracked Mirror: An Indian Debate on Experience and Theory by Gopal Guru and Sundar Sarukkai (New Delhi: Oxford University Press), 2012; pp 248, Rs 625.

Here is a very important collection of eight essays by the two authors, Gopal Guru and Sundar Sarukkai, of which four were already published in the EPWsometime back, and the other four have been occasioned by the volume as a dialogue (desired to be developed into a debate) on the validity of social theorisation of the dalit life and untouchability without the lived experience of what it means and how it works. The essays, specialising in five independent themes, are linked together by an introduction and epitomised by a conclusion, and deal with the attitude of social sciences in India towards understanding experience in terms of its ontology, epistemology and politics, besides the relation between ethics and theory. The authors’ use of the metaphor of a cracked mirror as the title signifies the relation between experience and theory, which is complex and distorted. The world as reflected in the cracked mirror symbolises to the authors the subterranean reality that underlies any discussion of experience and theory.

Debating Essays

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