The Puzzle of India's Governance: Culture, Context and Comparative Theory

By: Subrata K. Mitra

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India no longer gets an easy ride as the world's largest democracy. Spectatcular terrorist attacks on India's Parliament and places of worship, communal riots of unprecedented ferocity, lingering separatist insurgency and violent caste conflict in impoverished regions have combined to cause a closer appraisal of India's capacity to sustain the rule of law. This book examines how India has been able to sustain democratic governance while undergoing substantial social, economic and political changes through a neo-institutional rational choice model of governance, bounded by local culture and context. The author applies the central logic of bounded rationality to fresh data derived through quantitative and qualitative methods from a geographically diverse, multi-ethnic post-colonial state. It sheds light on governance in India and generates findings relevant to cross-national studies of governance. The book shows how elites, by drawing on the logic of human ingenuity, driven by self-interest rather than mechanical adherence to tradition, and innovating new procedures when it suits them, can enhance governance through appropriate policies, institutions and processes. This book will be invaluable to researchers and students of South Asia and will be of special interest to those studying governance and the rational actor model. Contents List of figures List of tables Foreword Preface Abbreviations 1. Introduction: a comparative theory of governance The problem stated Locating the puzzle Power and legitimacy: the two faces of governance The Indian context The stakeholder's dilemma: governance as a game on the rules of the game Methodological individualism and the issue of bias A neo-institutional model of governance based on elite strategies Rules, discretion and human agency Security, welfare and trust: some hypothetical parameters of governance The liminality of governance and its genealogies Culture, context and the rational actor: bringing politics back again Governance and the 'irrational' actor: beyond socio-psychological explanations Plurality of the usage of governance: public policy and orderly rule Conclusion: a road map 2. Measuring governance: a design for empirical inquiry Introduction: bridging theory and data 'Seeing like a state': murder and riots as aggregate indicators of governance Text and context: political ambiguities of violent crime A 'twitch and a wink': the shared meaning of an event Perception of law and order as a qualitative measure of governance: citizens and leaders Design of the inquiry Specifying parameters of the research design Regional distribution of quantitative indicators of governance One country, many cases: some advantages of intra-state comparison Conclusion: governance as an interaction of locally embedded values and the political context 3. The institutional arrangement of governance: structure and the formation of the state in India Introduction Inter-community violence in India: the state at risk? Micro-politics, macro linkages and institutional arrangements of the state Power, protest and federalisation The Indian Penal Code: a 'cunning' of colonial rule Rule of law, judicialisation and strategic reform Social change, welfare and bureaucratic planning as strategies of governance The hiatus between trust and empowerment, and its implications for governance Conclusion 4.The regional context of governance: six analytical narratives Introduction: the region as a site of governance Homeostasis: social cohesion, regional state formation and governance Punjab: balancing repression with surreptitious accommodation West Bengal: institutionalisation of class conflict under the hegemony of the Left Front Bihar: the dynamics of stalemated class conflict Tamil Nadu: charisma, corruption and Tamil nationalism Maharashtra: community, conflict and resilience Gujarat: community and conflict in a fragile politcal system Conclusion: the narratives compared 5. Policing and strategic reform: culture, context and welfare in the organisation of order The problem stated Policing and governance The moral ambiguity of power and the myth of police neutrality 'Indulgence and abundance': a 'cultural model' of why people do not always rebel Rulers and guardians: keeping order under colonial rule The institional arrangements of policing in India Relative merits: elite evaluation of the police as an instrument of governance Strategic reform: room to manoeuvre in the middle Conclusion 6. The agency of public institutions: leaders, administrators and governance Introduction Elite mediation in a post-colonial democracy: bridging the unbridgeable? The agency of public institutions: from social to political capital Why does institutional agency matter? Self- and mutual perception of administrators and politicians Governing in tandem: upward and downward spirals Eletoral participation, party system fragmentation and governance Accountability, efficacy, legitimacy and trust: bridging elites and masses From political norms to administrative policy Conclusion: politics in command? 7. Modern state, pre-modern identities: culture and governance in changing societies The puzzle Identity and governance in the context of post-colonial India Subaltern cultures, empowerment of difference and the contestation of authority: state-nations versus nation-states 'Communal violence and 'normal' politics Memory and violence: public institutions as sites of conflict Rioters into stakeholders: institutional solutions to the conflict over language Governing personal law Religion and political order: saced places as 'realms of memory' Judicialisation: surreptitious acculturation of the public sphere Harmony, accommodation, trust and governance: elte discourse and public opinion Conclusion 8. Negotiating governance in changing societies: beyond the Indian model The problem restated The hegemonic and the accommodating: two faces of governance Order and anarchy in India after independence: plus ca change? Variations in regional governance Culture, context and community: a synergetic constellation Culture as embedded values: democracy and the empowerment of difference Context: the perils of relativity The elites' dilemma: to transcend or to accommodate? 'Getting to good governance': elite perceptions of startegic choices in governance Negotiating identity: the Indian model and its limitations Collective violence and the modern state: Tilly to the recue Homecoming of the stranger: governance and indigenous modernity Re-enchanting governance: bringing choice back in again Appendix Glossary Notes Bibliography Index" Printed Pages: 345.

Title: The Puzzle of India's Governance: Culture, Context and Comparative Theory

Author Name: Subrata K. Mitra

Categories: India, History, Culture, and Politics, South Asia,

Edition: First Edition

Publisher: London, UK, Routledge:

ISBN: 0415348617

ISBN 13: 9780415348614

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: New

Jacket Condition: New

Seller ID: 029078

Keywords: India's Governance