The Indian State: From Developmentalism to Liberalisation

The Indian State: From Developmentalism to Liberalisation

Convenor: Professor Nikita Sud

After being briefly written off as corrupt, inefficient, and inimical to development in the 1980s, the state has made a comeback in debates relating to the developing world. The Indian and Chinese states in particular are being interrogated for their role in the economic success of their countries. In this context, a course that takes a broad-based look at the politico-historical, sociological and politico-economic trajectory of a major state will be of interest to MPhil/MSc students, irrespective of regional specialisation. For those with a specific interest in India, the course provides a window into the country through its pre-eminent development actor.

The course will examine the Indian state from a period of interventionist developmentalism after independence in 1947, to its contemporary embracing of market reform. It will cover the Indian state’s grand visions nationhood through ideas like secularism, democracy and development. It will discuss actors and institutions such as the bureaucracy, regulators, fixers and middlemen. It will also consider the practices, policies and politics of the state in relation to big capital, farmers, the environment, and the poor. Finally, it will discuss the politics of economic liberalisation and the good governance agenda.

Importantly, the course hopes to represent the state as an everyday entity, rather than as an exalted, distant institution. News sources, film and other audio-visual media will be integral to our weekly sessions.


Take a look at …

K. Chandra.  2015.  ‘The New Indian State: The Relocation of Patronage in the Post-Liberalisation Economy’.  Economic and Political Weekly, 50 (41): 46-58.

S.J. Corbridge and C. Jeffrey.  2013.  India Today: Economy, Politics & Society. Cambridge: Polity Press

A. Kohli.  2012.  Poverty Amid Plenty in the New India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

N. Mathur.  2015.  Paper Tiger: Law, Bureaucracy, and the Developmental State in Himalayan India. Cambridge and Delhi: Cambridge University Press.

A. Sharma and A. Gupta, eds. 2005.  The Anthropology of the State: A Reader. Oxford: Blackwell.

N. Sud. 2012. Liberalisation, Hindu Nationalism and The State: A Biography of Gujarat, Delhi: Oxford University Press

J. Witsoe.  2012.  ‘Everyday Corruption and the Political Mediation of the Indian State’, Economic and Political Weekly, 47(6): 47-54.


The image above shows: Ram Gopal Varma’s film 'Sarkar', featuring a powerful politician-don of Mumbai.

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