Constructing A Liberal Civil Society
Ajay Gudavarthy
CIVILITY AGAINST CASTE: DALIT POLITICS AND CITIZENSHIP IN WESTERN INDIA by Suryakant Waghmore Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2015, 276 pp., 750
January 2015, volume 39, No 1

This book once again foregrounds the on-going debate on how to approach and conceptualize civil society in India. Is civil society a ‘realm of freedom‘ or a realm of hegemony? Is it a ‘bourgeoise society‘ that introduces the processes of individuation and breakdown of community relations or enables in forging civic ethos and civic community as against traditional hierarchies? The variations in approaching the concept of civil society are doubly compounded when we begin to discuss it in the context of caste. Part of the problem really seems to be that while discourses and analyses, over the last few decades in India, have surged ahead exploring the various modes of democratization, including ideas of ‘secularization of caste‘ and ‘politicization of caste‘, these have remained as very selective instances in the life and dynamics of caste based exclusion in India, and they highlight very marginal and partial achievements by the anti-caste movements.

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