Claude Alvares
Relevance in Social Science Research: A Colloquium by Institute of Economic Growth Vikas Publishing House Delhi, 1982, 374 pp., 125
March-April 1982, volume 6, No 5

Two central features mark the nature of socio-political life in India today, in relation to which everything else pales into insignificance: the over¬whelming poverty of the majority of the population, and the increasing hostility between central and state governments on the one side and the same dispossessed majority on the other. A self-aggrandizing elite, from politi¬cians to academics, sits at the apex of a pyramid fabric¬ated and maintained out of the labour and involuntary contribution of the rest of the toiling population. It is neces¬sary to put up these indisput¬able facts in court and to hold them in the continuous glare of our consciousness, despite the strong temptation to get sidetracked into secondary issues, however important or significant these may be held out to be. The relevance of social science research as well as the ques¬tion of relevance in social science research will turn out to be meaningful issues in so far as they carry some poten¬tial for a major impact on these crucial facts of our country’s life.

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