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They may succeed or fail.

Human Capital in Gender and Development

As Taylor 28 puts it:. At the same time, self-making processes reflect as well as shape ethical practices of human selves in a given space and time. Two recent efforts of this kind are noteworthy here. Both volumes span vast stretches of time and space in South Asia, and both are interested in explaining how ethical ideas and practices in this part of the world are similar to and different from elsewhere, especially Europe. On the surface, the papers in this special issue seem to share much in common with these two volumes.

Yet the differences are, arguably, more instructive. Firstly, all of the essays in Pandian and Ali proceed from an unstated assumption of methodological holism. Secondly, Copeman and Ikegama , albeit closer to our focus here, are more concerned with the idiosyncrasies of individual gurus and the diversity of guru-ship in South Asia than with the relationship between self-making processes and social change. A focus on the politics and ethics of self-making in postcolonial India allows us to navigate the co-constitution of self and society without falling prey to methodological individualism or holism.

For Clifford Geertz , these interpretive acts were geared towards unpacking layer upon layer of meaning embedded in particular sociocultural contexts. Yet, ethnographic interpretations of social fragments can yield valid social-scientific knowledge of a kind that cannot be generated by more positivistic methods of inquiry Yanow and Schwartz-Shea , Schatz By setting forth our epistemic priors thus, we now intend to highlight the value of ethnography in studying selves and self-making across different scales and sites in postcolonial India.

These selves emerge in the play of insides and outsides, distances and proximities, modernities and traditions. As in the abovementioned works, the protagonists of the ethnographic narratives in this special issue straddle the conventional binaries of postcolonial theory in India. The maneuvers and stances of these protagonists enable them to negotiate disparate domains of politics and society creatively and contingently.

This is why we plead the case for ethnographic exploration here and place ourselves in a wider intellectual context of ethnographic scholarship on postcolonial politics. Among older works, we draw inspiration, in particular, from the pioneering work of fieldworkers such as F. Bailey and David Pocock , who carefully sifted through the local meanings of caste, tribe, and social power in Orissa and Gujarat respectively. Among recent works, we align ourselves with critical ethnographic studies of bureaucratic and police officials Gupta , Jauregui , women and development Karim , Madhok , misdirected activism and advocacy Jalais , Shah , and youth politics Lukose , Jeffrey In these works, we encounter postcolonial selves grappling with the disparate pulls of state and capital, tradition and modernity, and self-interestedness and selflessness.

Their responses vary from narrating oral histories from the margins of the nation to adopting the languages of governmentality, and from organized resistance to the forces of modernization to staking claim to postcolonial democracy as political entrepreneurs on the stage of electoral politics. Taken together, these older and more recent classics of South Asian anthropology suggest new ways to theorize postcolonial politics in this region beyond the conventional binaries that dominate social scientific thinking on India. We, too, venture on this path beyond the outmoded oppositions between individuals and collectives, state and community, and politics and ethics, in order to develop a new conceptual vocabulary as well as lenses for ethnographers studying postcolonial South Asia.

Atreyee Majumder describes her encounters with prominent figures on a rural-urban corridor of Howrah, West Bengal who appropriate and rework the past to craft their public selves. Lipika Kamra introduces us to the writings of Naxalite women from West Bengal and Kerala to discuss how the party-led quest for revolutionary social change shapes and is, in turn, shaped by the emergent political subjectivities of female comrades.

At the same time, these Naxalite women seek to articulate notions of womanhood and autonomy, sometimes in line with party directives and sometimes in opposition to them. Exercises in mapping forests turns out to be key sites of self-making in these margins of modern India.

In all of the papers, selves and self-making are delineated in complex geographies involving the welfare state, revolutionary politics, social ecology, and democratic ideas and institutions. In this manner, these papers speak to the theoretical framework developed in this outline by transcending the usual binaries that dominate the study of South Asian politics and society and outlining more textured understandings of the everyday lives of individuals and collectives in postcolonial India. If readers find in these efforts the kernel of a new approach to studying postcolonial politics in India and beyond, we shall deem our aims fulfilled.

Bailey, Frederick G. Baumeister, Roy F. Bate, Bernard; Brad J. Baviskar, Amita; Ray, Raka eds. Brass, Paul R. Comaroff, Jean; Comaroff, John L.


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Copeman, Jacob; Ikegama, Aya eds. Daniel, Valentine E. Dirks, Nicholas B. Foucault, Michel The History of Sexuality , 3 vols. Gallagher, John A. Gandhi, Mohandas K. Parel , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Gellner, David N. Hewitt, John P. Hobsbawm, Eric J. Kunnath, George J. As an act of transgressive in-betweenness and vernacularization, corruption also threatens these very boundaries, exposing the untidy, dangerous backstage of modernity that must be contained.

Finally, if corruption is a product of modern dualisms and systems of rule, including the law, then using the law to root it out becomes a paradoxical and inherently limited project. She is a political anthropologist with a keen interest in questions of governance, the state, democracy, law, development, NGOs, social movements, and activism in India. TRAI 's decision in May to initiate a fresh public consultation on designing new business models for providing free data to consumers without violating the prohibition on ISP gatekeeping further reduces the space for access imaginaries that are not market-centric.

In fact, the French Digital Council has astutely observed that platform neutrality is intrinsic to an open and sustainable digital environment CNNum, b. Thus, public policy conjunctures become critical in either reinforcing hegemonic, exclusionary and exploitative ideologies of design, provisioning and use or in destabilising them. Meanings of the internet are being discovered and appropriated through the spontaneous actions of communities and individuals, and moral claims that challenge common sense arise continuously through these.

Introduction. Selves and Society in Postcolonial India

The regulator's decision in India perhaps presents a new benchmark on net neutrality, marking a moment of destabilisation. But as noted, it signals the long road of continuing contestation for realising marginal imaginaries and legitimising an alternative discourse on access. The willing participation of users in furthering global digital capitalism Mager, a complicates actions to give legitimacy and authority to alternative definitions of the internet.

In a globalised world mediated by the internet, thinking about internet governance as a sub-national, decentralised, agenda-setting process may be the way to go, for a more democratic and diverse interpretation of community-specific mandates in policy. Policy and Regulatory Good Practices. Barr, A. Google and Net Neutrality: It is complicated.

Guest lecture with Aradhana Sharma, associate professor of Anthropology at Wesleyan University

Wall Street Journal. Benkler, Y. Bose, S. Australian law threatens to prevent us speaking out about injustice online. Cheng, C. CNNum a. Platform neutrality: Building an open and sustainable digital environment. CNNum b. Chenou, J. From Cyber-Libertarianism to Neo-liberalism: Internet Exceptionalism, Multistakeholderism and the Institutionalisation of Internet governance in the s.

Globalizations Vol 11 2 pp DOI: Fairclough, N. Critical discourse analysis.

Women's Empowerment, Neoliberal Development and Global Justice, Andrea Cornwall, SOAS

Discourse as Social Interaction. London: Sage. Fischer, F. Durham and London: Duke University Press. First Post. Fraser, N. Gillespie, T. The politics of platforms. New Media and Society 12 3. Government of India. Internet Democracy Project. Mager, A. Communication, Capitalism and Critique, Vol 12 1. Algorithmic Ideology. Information, Communication and Society, Vol , Mark Zuckerberg. McGee, R. IDS Bulletin Vol 47 1.

Morozov, E. Don't believe the hype, the 'sharing economy' masks a failing economy. Murthy, M. Facebook is misleading Indians with its full page ads about Free Basics. The Wire. Nair, H. Mail Online. NDTV Gadgets New Indian Express. Facebook to have largest users from India by Study. With full page ads, Facebook's blitzkreig ad campaign for Free Basics. The News Minute.

Facebook is no charity and the 'free' in Free Basics comes at a price. Sarikakis, K.

1st Edition

Ideology and policy: Notes on the shaping of the Internet. First Monday, Vol 9 8. Save the Internet , January 7. Joint submission from Indian start-ups for consultation paper on differential pricing. Sharma, A. New Delhi: Zubaan. Singh, P. Free Basics, now through the backdoor. The Hindu. Sony Pictures. Svennson, P. Verizon, Google in Android Partnership. Comments received from the stakeholders towards the Consultation Paper on differential pricing for data services.

Export Citation

Prohibition of discriminatory tariffs for data services regulations, Letter to Facebook. Consultation Paper on Free Data. May Winokur, M. In Kroker, A. Critical Digital Studies: A Reader.


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  • University of Toronto Press Incorporated: London. World Bank. World Development Report Digital Dividends. Yoo, C. The Free Basics service was previously called Internet. According to the Alliance for Affordable Internet, zero-rating refers to "services that make certain content or applications available at no additional cost to the customer". Submissions received between December to January , in response to TRAI's second consultation paper on differential pricing for data services issued on 9 December Opponents are Save the Internet campaign, the media company Sony Pictures, two civil society coalitions, five civil society organisations, a software-industry think-tank, a film industry professional body, a tech entrepreneur, a member of parliament, an academic and two concerned individuals.

    The platform was not available anymore, at the time of writing.


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      While not everybody was happy with the final result, process-wise it was a landmark meeting.