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Lecture 8


6 Pages

Political Science
Course Code
Professor Kanta Murali

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Week 8 – India’s Democracy Agenda -Theories of democracy -India as an exception – a highly contested democracy -State has failed to deliver in many ways – democracy hasn’t produced responsiveness -has not had frequent authoritarian reversals (just the period of Emergency) -exceptional in the scale of its democracy -more people in absolute numbers than other country in the world -achievements in terms of human and social development leave much to be desired -India has elections beyond the state and federal level – even down to the village level -Arundhati Roy – the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer – criticism of Indian democracy -a structural problem – a crisis -critical of free-market capitalism and its influence on Indian democracy -Why did democracy take root in India? -Origins and consolidation -India’s democracy the “biggest gamble in history” – b/c of the introduction of universal suffrage -Evaluating the performance of India’s democracy -Is India’s democracy a “success”? -Key challenges to Indian democracy -the broad theme of Indian democracy: **success in participation but the failure in responsiveness of government** Explaining democracy: an overview of key theories -Economic development -modernization theory – came out in the post- WW2 context -dichotomy between traditional societies and modern societies -traditional societies – values that are more hierarchical, feudal, -contrasted with modern societies – more rational, bureaucratic, more secular -how could traditional societies become modern societies? -link between economic development and democracy -higher levels of socio-economic development would be correlated with democracy -three mechanisms that need to be highlighted: 1) Values process of socioeconomic development itself – shift the values of traditional societies 2) Middle Classin the process of socioeconomic development – get a larger middle class -traditional societies have a pyramidic structure in terms of class (big lower class and a small elite at top) -socioeconomic development would lead to a different class structure itself – considered good for democracy -middle class a moderate influence – middle class doesn’t have extreme views 3) Civil Societyas societies develop – an increase in participation in civic and political life -problems – no clear evidence on empirical link -debate on whether economic development actually leads to democracy -Inequality -higher equality conducive to democratization -higher equality and lower redistributive pressures -Balance of class forces -relative power of class forces (the relative power of middle class, rich class, and working class) -role of working class more important to democracy as well as middle class -relational position of working class and middle class that matters -Ethnic diversity -more ethnically homogenous – more likely to be democratic -assumption that ethnic diversity leads to high levels of political polarization -Civic culture -high levels of civic culture and civic participation -development of civil society -conducive to democracy -civic culture and participation -norms in civil society – of trust amongst people -External influences -colonialism – British colonialism conducive to the development of democracy -left behind the norms and institutions of democracy -external interventions -developed countries giving aid towards democracy -contagion -once a country within a region becomes democratic – spread throughout the region, norms translate through a contagion type effect India as an exception -an exception to modernization theory -low per capita income and low literacy -small middle class in 1947 -exception to the theories that emphasize the moderating influence of the middle class -social inequality in the form of caste -small working class -ethnic heterogeneity -civic participation -colonialism not sufficient -British did play an influence in terms of institutions -however look at the example of Pakistan – identical colonial heritage Why did democracy take root in India? -democratization and democratic consolidation -democratization – the original process of the adoption of democracy -democratic consolidation – why did this democracy sustain/consolidate over time? -different factors influence either set of concerns -India managed both – Indian democracy consolidated by the end of the Nehru period -what explains the origins of democracy in India? -Sarkar article – the role of both colonialism and nationalism -British did have some influence -elections, institutions, western education, rule of law -but privileges the role of Indian nationalism -had a more liberal conception of democracy than the British had put in place -civil rights, universal suffrage, safeguards for “depressed classes” Explaining the origins of Indian democracy -Varshney (1998) -historical aspects -democratic experience, nation-building, multiclass nationalist movement and united India -nationalist movement and British legitimacy -more emphasis on colonial institutions than Sarkar -suggests that the nationalist movement led to the conception of India as a united nation – according to Varshney,
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