I Am the People: Reflections on Popular Sovereignty Today - Ruth Benedict Book Series (Hardback)Partha Chatterjee (author)
- Coming soon
To uncover the roots of populism, Chatterjee traces the twentieth-century trajectory of the welfare state and neoliberal reforms. Mobilizing ideals of popular sovereignty and the emotional appeal of nationalism, anticolonial movements ushered in a world of nation-states while liberal democracies in Europe guaranteed social rights to their citizens. But as neoliberal techniques shrank the scope of government, politics gave way to technical administration by experts. Once the state could no longer claim an emotional bond with the people, the ruling bloc lost the consent of the governed. To fill the void, a proliferation of populist leaders have mobilized disaffected groups into a battle that they define as the authentic people against entrenched oligarchy.
Once politics enters a spiral of competitive populism, Chatterjee cautions, there is no easy return to pristine liberalism. Only a counter-hegemonic social force that challenges global capital and facilitates the equal participation of all peoples in democratic governance can achieve significant transformation. Drawing on thinkers such as Antonio Gramsci, Michel Foucault, and Ernesto Laclau and with a particular focus on the history of populism in India, I Am the People is a sweeping, theoretically rich account of the origins of today's tempests.
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Number of pages: 208
Dimensions: 216 x 140 mm
In these masterful lectures, Chatterjee provides a truly global account of the logics of populist and popular sovereignty in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Drawing on the example of modern Indian capitalism and governmental techniques, Chatterjee shows that the career of the 'people' and populism in India enables a richer, deeper, and more complex account of populist politics than is the norm in current debates in Euro-America. -- Thomas Blom Hansen, Stanford University
Chatterjee sets forth an entirely original genealogy of political populism built around the theoretical significance of populist politics in India and their unexpected convergences with the West. No other political theorist has the range, analytical depth, ambition, and sheer novelty of political imagination to traverse this truly global story of popular sovereignty. Chatterjee has also delightfully given a new life to Gramsci's concept of passive revolution for a new age and a new generation of critical theorists. -- Karuna Mantena, Columbia University
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