Title India's New Middle Class: Democratic Parties in an Era of Economic Reform
Book Condition New
Jacket Condition New
Edition First Edition
Publisher New Delhi, India Oxford University Press 2007
019569158X / 9780195691580
Seller ID 019683
Since the 1990s, the middle class in India has been substantially transformed in size and character. This educated workforce commonly thought to be between 325 to 350 million now threatens its counterparts in the US and Europe. The new middle class is shaping contemporary politics in India in distinctive ways, symbolizing the emergence of a wider national political culture hinged on a consumer-based on consumption. This study marks a departure from existing studies on the middle class that have either focused on estimating its size or approached it through the lens of consumption. Fernandes analyses the political processes that have linked the middle class to consumption and a pro-liberalization orientation. It then moves beyond these connections to examine the internal differentiations within this class, thereby challenging the thesis that the middle class benefits uniformly from the policies of economic liberalization. Fernandes argues that such analyses deepen our understanding of political dynamics of economic reforms. According to her, this middle class is not new in terms of its structural or social basis. Rather its newness refers to the production of a distinctive social and political identity that represents and lays claims to the benefits of liberalization. Simultaneously, the construction of this social group rests on the assumption that other social segments can potentially join it. This creates conflicts between those who constitute this group and those who aspire to be a part of it. The book demonstrates that the anxieties, responses, and practices that these fissures produce constitute the daily substance of contemporary democratic politics.