Rethinking Ways of Seeing and Understanding
Irfanullah Farooqi
IN DEFENCE OF THE ORDINARY: EVERYDAY AWAKENINGS by Dev Nath Pathak Bloomsbury, New Delhi, 2021, 249 pp., 1299.00
April 2022, volume 46, No 4

Dev Nath Pathak’s In Defence of the Ordinary: Everyday Awakenings is an inordinary demonstration of a routine exercise that most sociologists, certainly in their professional lives, claim an association with: sociological imagination. Pathak too informs us about the deep connections between his personal and the public but his concerns are routed in assuringly different ways. Indulging in a polemic against himself, the author invites his readers to undertake a not-so-usual reading of politics and philosophy of knowledge. Treating the work as a release, something so central to the act of writing, Pathak bares open a subjectivity that meditatively negotiates with series of ordinarinesses.

The book carries 25 short essays that are clubbed under five perceptively curated sections. Each of these short essays hint towards the author’s forceful case for another imagination of the ‘scholarly’, present the sheer dynamism of ordinariness, and question the epistemic frames that disconnect knowing and thinking from living. Most important, the essays primarily do their work through songs, films, poems, parables, anecdotes, and routine episodes of everyday life. Their everydayness is difficult to miss.

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