Structural-Cultural Moorings of Transformative Politics in India

Council for Social Development, New Delhi

Structural-Cultural Moorings of Transformative Politics in India
– Call for papers

20-21 January 2009

Evaluating the mode of production debate in India during the 1970s, Alice Thorner (1982) had noted an unwillingness to deal with the cultural aspects. Mainstream academic discourse today has swung to the other extreme of an unwillingness to deal with the political economy aspect, except for largely empiricist economic analyses. There is a felt need today to move-away from these unilateral approaches and follow a synthetic approach of marrying the concerns of political economy/ accumulation, on the one hand with studies on culture and identity, on the other. This would entail viewing social reality at the inter-junctions of accumulation and identity, structure and agency, enabling collective action for social transformation and social development. We need analyses that would be sensitive to both the specificities of the particular ‘social and spatial structures of accumulation’ on the one hand and their totality on the other. We invite papers that could deal with structural-cultural categories such as class, caste, gender, national formations, tribe, community, environment, etc. that could plausibly constitute the social and political mobilisational bases of transformative political articulations and assertions in our country. We also welcome theoretical contributions attempting to link various kinds of social oppressions and finding the principal determinant within a social totality and identifying the principal task of transformative political movements.

Tentatively, the seminar will have the following sessions:

1) Theoretical session
2) Class as the social basis of transformative politics
3) National formations as the social basis of transformative politics
4) Caste, tribe and community as the social bases of transformative politics
5) Gender as the social basis of transformative politics
6) Human-nature relationship as the axis of transformative politics

Please send abstracts of about 1000 words to: Dr. Gilbert Sebastian, Associate Fellow, Council for Social Development, 53 Lodhi Estate, New Delhi – 110 003, e-mail: and latest by 15 December 2008 and full papers (around 25 pages) by 5 January 2009.

A selection of papers from the seminar would be published in an edited volume.

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