Tag Archives: India

Publication : Gender, Status and Migration of Nurses in India

Nair Sreelekha, Moving with the Times. Gender, Status and Migration of Nurses in India. New Delhi : Routledge, 2012

“This book is an attempt to penetrate the silence that surrounds the lives of nurses as migrant women. It offers a perceptive understanding of the trials faced specifically by women from the state of Kerala, in their personal and professional spheres, in the challenges posed to single women migrants as such, and the lower status ascribed to the job. In highlighting aspects of their lived experiences, it reveals how the identities of gender, class and ethnicity unmask the realities behind claims of egalitarianism and equal citizenship. Nurses from Kerala form one of the largest groups of migrant women workers in the international service sector along with Filipinos and Sri Lankans. Continue reading

Books : Environmental History in South Asia

Guha Ramachandra, The  unquiet woods (Twentieth Anniversary Edition): Ecological Change and Peasant Resistance in the Himalaya, New Delhi : Orient Blackswan, 2010

“Popular initiatives to halt deforestation in the Himalaya, such as the Chipko movement, are globally renowned. It is less well known that these movements have a history stretching back more than a hundred years. A proper understanding of this long duration within the forests of submontane North India required the marriage of two scholarly traditions: the sociology of peasant protest and the ecologically oriented study of history.
Twenty years ago there appeared on this subject an unknown author’s first book: The Unquiet Woods (1989) by Ramachandra Guha. Fairly quickly, the book came to be recognized as not just another study of dissenting peasants but as something of a classic which had willy nilly opened up a whole new field— environmental history in South Asia. Continue reading

Books : Nuclear Power in India

Mathai Manu, Nuclear Power, Economic Development Discourse and the Environment. The Case of India, London ; New York : Routledge, 2013

“Nuclear power is often characterized as a “green technology.” Technologies are rarely, if ever, socially isolated artefacts. Instead, they materially represent an embodiment of values and priorities. Nuclear power is no different. It is a product of a particular political economy and the question is whether that political economy can helpfully engage with the challenge of addressing the environmental crisis on a finite, inequitable and shared planet. For developing countries like India, who are presently making infrastructure investments which will have long legacies, it is imperative that these investments wrestle with such questions and prove themselves capable of sufficiency, greater equality and inclusiveness. Continue reading

Talk : From Local Technologies to New Forms of Global Governance

Balaji Parthasarathy, Reversing the flows of ideas? From local technologies for the marginalised to new forms of global governance. Tiffin Talk, Australia India Institute, 28 March 2013.

“For decades, largely agrarian, previously colonial, developing countries were the recipients of technologies, in domains ranging from medicine to transportation. The technologies also came embedded in specific ideas about social organisation and governance mechanisms, such as bureaucratic or market rationality. Lately, there is evidence of changes to the direction of flow as developing countries have become adept late-industrialisers who produce technology. Continue reading

Book: The Untiring Indian

Shashi K. Gulhati, The Untiring Indian : Lifestory of Mr. N. D. Gulhati: A Visionary Water Resources Engineer, New Delhi: MacMillan Publishers India, 2011

“A developing nation such as India is built by the untiring effort of thousands, rather, hundreds of thousands of its citizens. Sometimes circumstances demand that everyone work in concert, as Indians did under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi in their quest for independence from colonial rule. Most other times, however, it is groups of various sizes or just individuals who work untiringly in their respective sphere of activity. In a large, diverse and growing country like India, there are many spheres of activity that need nurturing to build the nation. Nation building does require that we work with national development as the prime objective. It calls for us to sacrifice, to shun smaller, self-serving goals and to focus on larger causes. It demands that we work with integrity, commitment and a genuine concern for others. Those that do are, or ought to be, our national heroes. It is they who should be our youth’s ‘role models’. Role models play a very significant role in modeling our lives.The shape that a nation takes is determined by the role models it chooses. Continue reading

Review: Scholars and Prophets

« The Fascination for India », La Vie des idées, 11 March 2013

Review by Jules Naudet (Translated by Rohini Rangachari)

Roland Lardinois, Scholars and Prophets. Sociology of India from France 19th-20th Centuries. New Delhi: Social Science Press, 2013

“Since the 18th century, India has been portrayed in contradictory ways. While scholarly knowledge is based on the philological study of texts, literary Orientalism expresses its fascination for a society well-known to preserve the values of order and hierarchy. For Roland Lardinois the anthropology of Louis Dumont illustrates the ambiguity of these discourses.”

Continue reading

Books: Dams and Development in South Asia

Sanjeev Khagram, Dams and Development. Transnational Struggles for Water and Power. New York, Cornell University Press, 2004

“Big dams built for irrigation, power, water supply, and other purposes were among the most potent symbols of economic development for much of the twentieth century. Of late they have become a lightning rod for challenges to this vision of development as something planned by elites with scant regard for environmental and social consequences—especially for the populations that are displaced as their homelands are flooded. In this book, Sanjeev Khagram traces changes in our ideas of what constitutes appropriate development through the shifting transnational dynamics of big dam construction.  Continue reading

Books: Urban Governance in India

Joël Ruet, Stéphanie Tawa-Lama Rewal, Governing India’s Metropolises, New Delhi: Routledge, 2009.

“Urban governance today is characterized by a multiplicity of actors involved in the management of local affairs. The questions for inquiry are: who are the individuals and institutions, public and private, who actually plan and manage urban affairs? In what ways do they do so? Whose interests are accommodated, and under what conditions can co-operative action be taken? And, more generally, in what ways are interactions between the many actors of urban governance patterned?  Continue reading

Publication: Scholars and Prophets

Roland Lardinois, Scholars and Prophets. Sociology of India from France 19th-20th centuries. New Delhi: Social Science Press, 2013

Scholars and ProphetsSociology of India from France 19th – 20th centuries is being translated from L’invention de I’ Inde. Entre ésotérisme et science, and deals with the historical genesis of the long and rich scholarship on India in France since the beginning of 19thcentury, with particular reference to the work of Louis Dumont. It considers the works of scholars and the essayists, poets, or esotericists who published on India and shows that Dumont has been influenced by both groups. This understanding illuminates the main criticism that is still addressed to Homo hierarchicus, that in this book Dumont mistook the internal Brahminical view point on the caste system for a sociological view. In the last chapter, the book contrasts Dumont’s work with issues raised by McKim Marriott’s project and the Subaltern Studies from India. It defends that the core issue dealt with by all scholars is the epistemic status given to scientific knowledge of Indian society.  Continue reading

Book: Social Mobility

Jules Naudet, Entrer dans l’élite. Parcours de réussite en France, aux Etats-Unis et en Inde. Paris: PUF, 2012

“Cet ouvrage analyse la manière dont des personnes originaires de milieux modestes et ayant accédé aux positions les plus prestigieuses du secteur privé, de la haute fonction publique et de l’université, parviennent à s’ajuster à leur nouveau statut social. Réussissent-elles à se « convertir » à leur nouveau groupe ? Cherchent-elles à conserver des liens forts avec leur milieu d’origine?? Comment gèrent-elles la contradiction de cette double appartenance ? Jules Naudet répond à ces questions en s’appuyant sur une enquête menée en France, en Inde et aux États-Unis, où il a recueilli près de 160 récits de vie de personnes ayant connu une ascension sociale exceptionnellement forte. Tandis que les Indiens témoignent avant tout d’un attachement profond à leur milieu d’origine, les Américains minimisent le contraste, donnant l’impression que la réussite « va de soi ». Enfin, les Français opposent deux mondes profondément différents, voire irréconciliables. Pour mener à bien l’analyse de ce riche matériau empirique, Jules Naudet propose un renouvellement de la problématique de la mobilité sociale et des outils théoriques traditionnellement mobilisés par les chercheurs travaillant sur cette question.”

 See Also:

Jules Naudet, « Castes, untouchability and social success in India », Books & Ideas, 18 March 2010. Available online.

Jules Naudet, “Paying Back to Society. Upward Social Mobility among Dalits.”, Contributions to Indian Sociology, Vol. 42, n°3, Oct. 2008

S. M. Dubey, Social mobility among the professions: study of the professions in a transitional Indian city, Bombay, Popular Prakashan, 1975.

Rajeshwari Desphande, Suhas Palshikar, “Occupational Mobility: How much does caste matter?”, Economic and Political Weekly, vol. 43, n°34, 2008

C. Rajagopalan, Jaspal Singh, “The Indian Institutes of Technology: Do They Contribute to Social Mobility?”, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 3, N°14, 1968

Books: India’s New Middle Classes

Leela Fernandes. India’s New Middle Class: Democratic Politics in an era of economic reform, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006

“Leela Fernandes digs into the implications of the growth of the middle class in India and uncovers—in the media, in electoral politics, and on the streets of urban neighborhoods—the complex politics of caste, religion, and gender that shape this rising population. Using rich ethnographic data, she reveals how the middle class operates as a proponent of economic democratization. “

Book reviews:

Mark Jackson, “Leela Fernandes, India’s New Middle Class: Democratic Politics in an era of economic reform.”, Canadian Journal of Sociology Online, Sept-Oct 2007. Available here.

Murayama, Mayumi, “India’s New Middle Class: Democratic Politics in an Era of Economic Reform – by Leela Fernandes”, The Developing Economies, Vol. 47, Issue 2, June 2009


Amita Baviskar, Raka Ray (eds). Elite and Everyman: The Cultural Politics of the Indian Middle Classes, New Delhi: Routledge India, 2011

“This book examines the middle classes — who they are and what they do — and their influence in shaping contemporary cultural politics in India. Describing the historical emergence of these classes, from the colonial period to contemporary times, it shows how the middle classes have changed, with older groups shifting out and new entrants taking place, thereby transforming the character and meanings of the category. The essays in this volume observe multiple sites of social action (workplaces and homes, schools and streets, cinema and sex surveys, temples and tourist hotels) to delineate the lives of the middle classes and show how middle-class definitions and desires articulate hegemonic notions of the normal and the normative.”


See Also:

Timothy Scrase. “The “New” Middle Class in India. A Re-assessment”, 16th Biennial Conference of the Asian Studies Association of Australia in Wollongong, 26 June – 29 June 2006. Available here.

Ruchira Ganguly-Scrase, Timothy Scrase. Globalisation and the Middle Classes in India. The Social and cultural impact of neoliberal reforms. London: Routledge, 2009

Christophe Jaffrelot, Peter van der Veer (eds). Patterns of Middle Class Consumption in India and China. New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2008

Books: Indian Institutes of Technology

Shashi K. Gulhati, The IITs: Slumping or Soaring, New Delhi, Macmillan, 2006

“Many parents dream that their child will go to study at an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and thereafter be a great success. IITs and success are viewed as synonymous because IIT alumni have amply established this link. Will the IITs continue to graduate winners? Can we expect more – will they generate knowledge to make India a leader in the new knowledge economy? Or, have the IITs enjoyed their day of glory and are now slumping? If so, can we arrest the slump and get them soaring? The IIT system is under massive strain: its autonomy is being eroded, its physical infrastructure is wearing thin; laboratories are getting out-dated; faculty is depleting; and the competition for admission is pushing aspirants into an unhealthy grind. IITs fortunately have a major strength in their alumni – they want to see their alma mater excel. The book considers each threat and suggests the way forward. It calls for major changes in how to select students, attract the best to join as faculty and, most important, proposes a new governance system with diminished role for Government and an enhanced one for the alumni. The time to chart out a new course is now! The advantage to be reaped is enormous!! The nation cannot afford to let the IITs slump!!!”

See Also:

Rohit Manchanda, Monastery, Sanctuary, Laboratory: 50 years of IIT Bombay, New Delhi, Macmillan Publishers India, 2008

E.C.Subbarao, An Eye for Excellence. Fifty Innovative Years of IIT Kanpur, New Delhi, Harper Collins, 2008

Sandipan Deb, The IITians: The Story of a remarkable Indian Institution and How its Alumni are Reshaping the World, New Delhi, Viking Penguin India, 2003

Rangan Banerjee and Vinayak P. Muley, Engineering Education in India, Bombay, IIT Bombay, 2008. Available here.

Narayana Jayaram, “Toward World-Class Status? The IIT System and IIT-Bombay”, in Philip G. Altbach and Jalmi Salmi (eds), The Road to Academic Excellence. The making of World-Class Research Universities. Washington, The World Bank, 2011. Available here.

Roli Varma, and Deepak Kapur, “Access, Satisfaction, and Future: Undergraduate Education at the Indian Institutes of Technology”, Higher Education 59: 703-717, 2010. Available here.

Ross Bassett, “Aligning India in the Cold War Era: Indian Technical Elites, the Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur, and Computing in India and the United States”. Technology and Culture 50: 783-810, 2009. Available here.

Books: M Visvesvaraya

Dilip M Salwi, M Visvesvaraya: Engineer & Nation Builder, New Delhi, Rupa Publisher, 2003

“Today, there are few engineers who can match the vision, administrative capability and patriotic zeal of M. Visvesvaraya. He was not only a pioneer civil engineer whose painstaking efforts led to the modernisation of independent India but was also a social revolutionary who set rolling several programmes for the propagation of technical education, women’s education and family planning which are in progress even today.”


See Also:

M Visvesvaraya, Reconstructing India, London, P.S.King & Son, 1920. Available here.

M Visvesvaraya, Nation Building, Bangalore, The Bangalore Press, 1937. Available here.

M Visvesvaraya, Memoirs of my working life, Bangalore, Visvesvaraya, 1951. Excerpts (Chapter IV: Work as Chief Engineer, Mysore) available here.

Dhruv Raina, “Visvesvaraya as an Engineer-Sociologist and the evolution of his techno-economic vision”, NIAS Lecture 1, 2001

Chandan Gowda, “Visvesvaraya, an Engineer of Modernity”, The Hindu, September 15, 2010. Available here.

Review: Diversity and Change in Modern India

« Les mutations de la société indienne », La Vie des idées, 16 mars 2011

Review by Roland Lardinois

Antony F. Heath et Roger Jeffery (dir.), Diversity and Change in Modern India. Economic, Social and Political Approaches, The British Academy, Oxford University Press, 2010

“L’ouvrage édité par Antony Heath et Roger Jeffery offre une vue d’ensemble des transformations de la société indienne. Dominé par les contributions d’économistes et de politistes, il reflète l’état des sciences sociales en Inde, où la sociologie peine à se développer pleinement.”

Continued: http://www.laviedesidees.fr/Les-mutations-de-la-societe.html