As Nobel laureates Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz sounded the alarm at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association that the US economy could slip back to recession in 2010, the (so called) debate on ‘free trade vs. protectionism’ once again has come back to the forefront.
The book under review here is a selection of columns contributed by the author, between December 2006 to December 2008, to the Business Standard and Outlook. As one may expect from such a volume, a large number of questions of contemporary relevance are touched upon in these short essays although the major concerns of the book happens to be the recent global economic crisis and its implication for India, as well as reflections on critical issues facing the Indian economy.
In a refreshing departure from existing studies and understandings of urban informal economy in general, and, scavenging, waste and recycling economy in particular, the above book provides a contextualized picture of a waste and recycling chain, which study necessitated that the author supplement field economics with anthropology and sociology, quantitative with qualitative methodology, and traverse different levels—micro, meso and macro.
The book is the outcome of a network called the Dowry Project, established in 1995 at an International Conference on Dowry and Bride Burning at Harvard, with the aim of encouraging , sharing and disseminating research in the areas of dowry, bride burning and son preference in South Asia and its diaspora.
R.S. Sharma’s work is marked by a particular and long-term commitment to both his politics and history. The essays in this volume address many themes: from colonial historiography to nationalist utopias; from issues of methodology to the mode of production; from marking transitions to a detailed study of social relations. Taken together, they provide both a starting point to discuss his work and an indication of the range of his interests.
Kumkum Chatterje’s The Cultures of History in Early Modern India is an extremely important contribution on a range of themes which include historiography and historical traditions, the relationship between an imperial centre and (its) province, as well as, culture and power.