Politics and State–Society Relations in India

April 2017 9781849047180 284pp


James Manor is acknowledged as one of the world’s leading experts on Indian politics, especially how it is affected by caste, political economy — particularly poverty and its alleviation — regionalism and modes of political leadership.

This book distils his six decades of research, scholarship and writing on these topics, presenting the reader with a definitive collection of chapters covering the full spectrum of Manor’s expertise.

The first section is a commentary on the emergence of a consolidated democracy in India, and discusses political awakening and political decay, which, together with political regeneration, form the three key processes at work in Indian politics over the past forty years. If one aspect of the management of democratic affairs is linked to the Indian voters and their shifting political choices, the other is where political leaders step in; and Manor is equally interested in both. He devotes three sections to the nature of political parties, the trends of regional politics, and how, at all these levels, political actors manage the challenges of governance. He addresses the regional dynamics of politics through the lens of political leadership in the fourth section. And in the last section, he comments on the more recent and turbulent phase of Indian politics, as Hindu nationalists took power in the regions and at the centre.


‘Manor is, arguably, one of a handful of scholars with a comprehensive understanding of the history of struggles over political and personal power in New Delhi and the provinces.’ — S. J. Gabriel, Professor of Economics, Mount Holyoke College, CHOICE

‘Offers a comprehensive account of politics and social transformations taking place in India in the last two decades of previous century… Manor perfectly brings out the inherent conflicts and contradictions of a democratic state in a deeply hierarchical society and also the ways in which Indian state and its leaderships ‘manage’ them while ensuring basic features of a functional democracy.’ — New Books Asia


James Manor is the Emeka Anyaoku Professor Emeritus of Commonwealth Studies at the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

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