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

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Politicising Roads in Manipur

Roads across Manipur are ephemeral, foregrounding the politics behind their development as well as their spatial and temporal nature. Drawing from fieldwork conducted in Manipur, this article analyses contemporaneous state practices of infrastructure and its sociopolitical processes, and offers evidence to understand their materialities, forms, and societal relations. The nexus between politicians, contractors, bureaucrats, insurgents and elites causes frequent suspension of road projects, setting a new form of contingent development practice in Manipur.

Demystifying Caste in Bengal

Although caste is a crucial reality in West Bengal, a declining Dalit movement post partition, the neglect of caste questions by the Left Front, and the failure of forging a broader Dalit solidarity due to fragmented Dalit constituencies have led to the invisibility of caste in the politics of the state.

After Breakdown

This paper builds on the work of Steven Jackson to theorise the breakdowns of hydraulic infrastructure not as exception, but as an ordinary condition of living with infrastructure. Rather than take breakdown to be an interruption in the life of infrastructures, it is suggested that breakdowns be read as an initial condition from which new infrastructures emerge through the labour of maintenance and repair. Drawing attention to the extraordinary labour of plumbers, municipal employees and engineers, the paper argues that the invisibilities of infrastructure are themselves contingent on the invisibilisation and subjugation of maintenance workers, who are placed beyond sight to regularly and constantly work to make water flow again.

Cine Star in Electoral Politics

Can the superstar provide traction to majoritarian politics in the Dravidian heartland?

Force-fitting Ethnicity onto Caste

Mobilizing the Marginalized: Ethnic Parties without Ethnic Movements by Amit Ahuja, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019; pp xxvi + 238, ₹ 550. From Hierarchy to Ethnicity: The Politics of Caste in Twentieth-Century India by Alexander Lee, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020; pp xiv + 272, price not indicated.

The Curious Case of the Congress Party

The extraordinary nature of the crisis faced by the Congress means that the revival of the party is necessarily predicated upon its renewal. This task becomes particularly onerous as it has to be achieved in the face of a challenge posed by the ruthless hegemonic force controlling politics.

Reimagining the Idea of a University in India

In response to the editor’s column, “University as an Idea’’ by Gopal Guru (EPW, 11 January 2020) and Swatahsiddha Sarkar’s article, “The Idea of a University in India” (EPW, 4 April 2020), this article seeks to begin a critical examination of the normative ideas that were presupposed in the earlier articles.

The US–China Disruption and the World Order

As foreign offices around the world try to make sense of the disruption in United States–China relations, it is useful to step back and see where things might be headed. The uncertainty revolves around some fundmental questions: Will the two erstwhile allies during the first Cold War wage a similar struggle against one another? What will be the normative basis of their rivalry? Is it about power or incongruent visions of the world order?

Contemporary Urban Politics: Reflections from ‘Mulshi Pattern’ and ‘Kaala’

Kaala (2018) directed by Pa Ranjith, and Mulshi Pattern (2018) directed by Pravin Tarde, both depict the changing nature of the political economy that revolves around the ownership of urban and suburban land. The conflict arising out of the overlapping shades of caste, class and land is at the root of both the films. While Kaala is the embodiment of contemporary subaltern politics as well as its aesthetics, Mulshi Pattern is an expression of the reactionary politics of criminalisation arising out of the collective insecurity perceived by dominant castes on losing landholdings and associated privileges.

Giving Agency to Political Parties

Ideology and Identity: The Changing Party Systems of India by Pradeep K Chhibber and Rahul Verma, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2018; pp xii  + 320, ₹ 895. Pradeep Chhibber is amongst the foremost intellectual “entrepreneurs” (to borrow a term from party politics’ literature) of our times...

Directly Elected Mayors

The introduction of directly elected mayors has the potential to completely change not only the landscape of urban local body governance, but also the nature of citizens’ participation in the management of their cities. The benefits of the directly elected mayoral system and its influence on the dynamics of the existing political system are explored.

The Future of Globalisation

An analysis of globalisation in a historical perspective can help us understand how the past or the present may shape the future. In so doing, this article outlines the contours of the present era of globalisation since its inception, circa 1975, to find that the successive epochs of globalisation during the second millennium came to an abrupt end because of their own consequences embedded in the process. Given this, the article seeks to focus on the present conjuncture, at the intersection of economics and politics, when globalisation is again in crisis to reflect on its future.

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