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Reflections on India After Liberalization

Event Type
Department of Sociology
3057 Lincoln Hall, 702 S Wright Street, Urbana
Nov 19, 2013  
Dr. Akhil Gupta
Originating Calendar
Department of Sociology

Abstract: This lecture offers some reflections on India after liberalization. Despite high growth rates, social tensions seem to be rising in India. Uneven growth has led to increasing disparities between urban and rural areas, and between different regions of the country. I tentatively forward a theory that connects a series of phenomena that have largely been analyzed in isolation: conflicts over land in the urban periphery; an armed uprising in areas of the country inhabited primarily by indigenous groups; a middle-class movement over political corruption; the growing size of the black economy; the rise of the service-sector economy; the entrenchment of mass popular democracy and decentralized governance; the increased influence of industrial capitalists on the state; and the renewed investments in welfare programs. I will argue that all these components of India's political economy are tightly interconnected, and that understanding these interconnections helps explain why terms such as "neoliberalism" and "market-friendly reforms" are inadequate descriptors of what is happening in India today.

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