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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Indian Politics and Society (PGSP11375)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryAs a result of globalization and its 'status' as a key 'BRIC' state, scholarly interest in India has risen. The course seeks to understand 'the puzzle' of Indian democracy and explain the numerous paradoxes and challenges underpinning Indian politics and society. The course is divided in three parts.
In the first part (weeks 1-3), the making of the Indian post-Independence state is set out, by analyzing how it is shaped by, but also departs from the British Indian order. Specific attention is given to how the Indian Nation is 'imagined' and how political institutions were designed to accommodate the multiplicity of ethnic, social, religious and economic cleavages within Indian society.
The second part (weeks 4-9) of the course considers, explains but also questions some of the dramatic changes that have been attributed to Indian politics since Independence, starting from (a) the transformation of the party system and the nature of government following on from this; (b) the gradual inclusion of lower and Other Backward Castes in the institutions of the state; (c) the 'Saffronization' of Indian politics linked with the rise of Hindu nationalism; (d) the economic paradigm shift from command to market economy and globalization; (e) the resurgence of Indian federalism resulting from the changing party system and economic liberalization; (f) the paradigm shift in foreign policy from non-alignment to Western rapprochement.
In the third and final part (weeks 10-11) we touch upon some of the key challenges facing the Indian polity. Domestic challenges relate to ongoing ethnic disputes, especially near the border with Pakistan (Kashmir) China (North-East), and to the Naxalist rebellion. We also address the issue of rising income inequalities between rural and urban India, Muslims versus Hindu India, female versus male India. A third challenge is the need to provide more effective and transparent governance that is less tied to patron-client relations, and that is ecologically more sustainable. Key international challenges remain India¿s relationship with Pakistan, the balance between realist and normative foreign policy (for instance in relation to Myanmar and Sri Lanka) and India-China relations.
Course description Part A. The Origins

Week 1: The Formation of the Indian State: Past Legacies, New Beginnings - Lecture

Week 2: Imagining the Indian Nation - Lecture

Week 3: Designing Institutions for a Complex Society - Lecture + Seminar

Part B. Transforming India (1949-present)

Week 4: The transformation of the Party System: From One Party Dominance to Party Fragmentation - Lecture

Week 5: The transformation of Indian Society and the assertion of the Lower Castes: from Exclusion to Inclusion? - Lecture + Seminar

Week 6: The Saffronization of Indian Politics: From Secularism to Hindutva? - Lecture + Seminar

Week 7 : The Political Economy of India: from Planning to Free Market? - Lecture

Week 8: The Transformation of Indian Federalism: from Centralized Federalism to Confederalism? - Lecture + Seminar

Week 9: India meets the World: from Non-Alignment to Western Rapproachment? - Lecture

Week 10: Looking Ahead: The Domestic Challenges of Indian Democracy - Lecture + Seminar
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the dynamics of Indian politics since Independence and demonstrate processes of continuity and change in Indian politics
  2. Critically appraise competing theoretical perspectives and empirical analyses on the transformation of Indian politics and society since Independence
  3. Situate Indian domestic and foreign politics in a broader comparative perspective, especially by drawing comparisons with other developing states, by situating India within comparative understandings of state-market-society relations, comparative theories of state and nation-building, comparative federalism and comparative theories for governing divided societies
  4. Develop good research, analytical and presentation skills
Reading List
Austin, G. (2000) Working a Democratic Constitution. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Bajpai, R. ed., Debating Difference. Group Rights and Liberal Democracy in India (Delhi: Oxford University Press).
Bhargava, R. (ed.) Politics and Ethics of the Indian Constitution. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Biswas, B. (2012), 'New Directions in India's Foreign Policy', 11, (2), 134-138.
Brass, Paul (1994), The Politics of India since Independence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
Corbridge, S., Harris, J. and Jeffrey, C., eds. (2013), India Today. Economics, Politics and Society (Cambridge: Polity Press).
Deaton, A. and Drèze, J. 'Poverty and Inequality in India. A reexamination', Economic and Political Weekly, 7 September, 3729-3748.
Ganguly, S., Pardeesi, M.S., "Explaining Sixty Years of India's Foreign Policy", India Review, 8, (1), 4-19.
Gopal Jayal, Niraja (2008), Democracy in India (Delhi: Oxford University Press).
Gopal Jayal, Niraja and Pratap Bhanu Metha, eds., (2010), The Oxford Companion to Politics in India (Delhi: Oxford University Press).
Guha, Ramachandra (2007). India after Gandhi. The History of the World's Largest Democracy (New York: Harpers Collins).
Hansen, Thomas (1999), The Saffron Wave: democracy and Hindu nationalism in modern India (Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Jaffrelot, C. (1999). The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics: 1925 to the 1990s (New Delhi: Penguin Books).
Jaffrelot, C. (2000), "The rise of the Other Backward Classes in the Hindi Belt", Journal of Asian Studies 59, (1).
Jeffery, Roger and Heath, Anthony (2010), eds., Diversity and Change in Modern India. Economic, Social and Political Approaches (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
Kapur, D. and Mehta, P.B. (ed.) (2005) Public Institutions in India: Performance and Design. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Lerner, Hannah, (2010), 'Constitution-Making in Deeply Divided Societies', Nations and Nationalism, 16, (1), 68-88.
Mukherji, R. ed. (2007). India's Economic Transition: The Politics of Reforms. (New Delhi: Oxford University Press).
Paul, T.V., (2006), 'Why has the India-Pakistan Relationship been so Enduring? Power Asymmetry and an Intractable Conflict', Security Studies, 15, (4), 600-630.
Roy, S. (2007), Beyond Belief: India and the Politics of Postocolonial Nationalism (Durham, NC: Duke University Press).
Rudolph, I and Rudolph S.H. (1987), In pursuit of Lakshmi: The Political Economy of the Indian State (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), 211-44.
Rudolph, L.I. and Rudolph, S. H. (2008) eds., Explaining Indian Democracy: A Fifty Year Perspective, 1956-2006 Volume 2: The Realm Of Institutions: State Formation and Institutional Change. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Sinha, Aseema (2003), 'Rethinking the Developmental State Model': Divided Leviathan and Subnational Comparisons in India, Comparative Politics, 35, (4), 459-76
Subrata K. Mitra (2011), Politics in India. Structure, Process and Policy (London: Routledge).
Stepan, Alfred, Linz, Juan J. and Yogendra Yadav (2011). State-Nations. India and other Multinational Democracies (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press).
Talbot, I and Singh, G. (2009), The Partition of India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
Talbot, Ian (2000), India and Pakistan. Inventing the Nation (London: Bloomsbury).
Wilkinson, S. 'India, Consociational Theory and Ethnic Violence', Asian Survey, 40, (5), 767-91
Wilkinson, S. I. ed. (2005). Religious Politics and Communal Violence. (New Delhi: Oxford University Press).
Yadav, Y. and Palshikar, S (2009), 'Between Fortuna and Virtu: Explaining the Congress Ambiguous Victory in 2009', Economic and Political Weekely, 44, (39), 33-46
Yadav, Y. and Palshikar, S. (2006), 'Party System and Electoral Politics in the Indian States, 1952-2002: From Hegemony to Convergence' in Ronald de Souza, P. and E. Sridharan, eds., India's Political Parties , 73-115
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Wilfried Swenden
Tel: (0131 6)50 4255
Course secretaryMs Agata Paluba
Tel: (0131 6)51 5070
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