Cover: Citizenship and Its Discontents: An Indian History, from Harvard University PressCover: Citizenship and Its Discontents in HARDCOVER

Citizenship and Its Discontents

An Indian History

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$42.00 • £36.95 • €38.95

ISBN 9780674066847

Publication Date: 02/15/2013


376 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

Not for sale in India, Bangladesh, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Bhutan

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Jayal argues that India’s history as a society built on the exclusionary logics of castes and tribes continues to clash with its self-image as an inclusive democracy.—Andrew J. Nathan, Foreign Affairs

Jayal effectively constructs an astonishingly comprehensive and complex history of the formations and transformations of citizenship in India. Citizenship and Its Discontents serves simultaneously as a rigorous introduction, a wide-ranging review, and a provocation in contemporary debates on citizenship in India and in a comparative frame—a rare and difficult achievement.—Radhika Mongia, The Book Review

Citizenship and Its Discontents discusses the implications of citizenship through a survey of Indian history… This is an extremely interesting and pertinent subject, with implications for Western societies such as the United States and Europe. It is a fascinating history, well-researched and thoughtful.—Gretchen Wagner, San Francisco Book Review

Jayal provides a broad, historically grounded discussion of contestations over democracy and citizenship in India from the late colonial period to the present. Specifically, the author lucidly analyzes the evolving conceptions of citizenship as legal status, as rights, and as identity. She persuasively illustrates how the early optimism that a new India could be fashioned out of a deeply hierarchical and unequal society led to a formally inclusive legal membership and group-differentiated citizenship. Unfortunately, in recent years these progressive civic ideals embodied in the constitution have been fast losing support in a climate of growing intolerance, widening economic inequality, and weak and fragmented civic solidarity. This provocative book makes an important contribution to the understanding of one of the core challenges facing contemporary India, including a theoretically rich and informed discussion on issues pertaining to democracy, citizenship, and governance in the world’s largest democracy.—S.D. Sharma, Choice

A contribution to our understanding of citizenship and democracy in India that is empirically rich and theoretically sophisticated.—Amrita Basu, Amherst College

The idea of citizenship in India promised inclusive community, but the country’s enlivened politics have transformed that promise into a more fragmentary, divisive reality. In this magisterial analytic history, Niraja Gopal Jayal maps for the first time the concept’s vicissitudes, and makes an essential contribution to our understanding of contemporary India and of political theory.—Sunil Khilnani, King’s India Institute

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