Thursday, 14 August 2014

New Published

The Ground Between: Anthropologists Engage Philosophy by Veena Das, Michael Jackson, Arthur Kleinman And Bhrigupati Singh from Orient Blackswan.

The guiding inspiration of this book is the attraction and distance that mark the relation between anthropology and philosophy. This theme is explored through encounters between individual anthropologists and particular regions of philosophy. Several of the most basic concepts of the discipline—including notions of ethics, politics, temporality, self and other, and the nature of human life—are products of a dialogue, both implicit and explicit, between anthropology and philosophy. These philosophical undercurrents in anthropology also speak to the question of what it is to experience our being in a world marked by radical difference and otherness.

In The Ground Between, twelve leading anthropologists offer intimate reflections on the influence of particular philosophers on their way of seeing the world, and on what ethnography has taught them about philosophy. Ethnographies of the mundane and the everyday raise fundamental issues that the contributors grapple with in both their lives and their thinking. With directness and honesty, they relate particular philosophers to matters such as how to respond to the suffering of the other, how concepts arise in the give and take of everyday life, and how to be attuned to the world through the senses.

Their essays challenge the idea that philosophy is solely the province of professional philosophers, and suggest that certain modalities of being in the world might be construed as ways of doing philosophy. This book will be of interest to social scientists, philosophers and literary scholars.

In our Philosophy section, Rs. 995, in hardback, 360 pages, ISBN: 9788125055006

The Problem of Caste by Satish Deshpande from Orient Blackswan.

Caste is one of the oldest concerns of the social sciences in India that continues to be relevant even today. This book tracks how scholars from different disciplines have responded to the caste question in independent India and highlights recent shifts in perspective. The general perception about caste is that it is an outdated concept that was slowly but inevitably dying out until it was revived by colonial policies and promoted by vested interests and electoral politics after independence.

However, this hegemonic perception changed irrevocably in the 1990s after the controversial reservations for the Other Backward Classes recommended by the Mandal Commission. Mandal triggered a new awakening by revealing that only a privileged upper caste minority believed in the declining significance of caste—for the vast majority of Indians caste continued to be a crucial determinant of life opportunities.

This volume collects significant writings spanning seven decades, three generations and several disciplines. The introduction contextualises established perspectives in relation to emergent concerns, and is followed by forty essays organised into six sections. The first section offers a sample of disciplinary responses ranging from sociology to law. The second explores the relationship between caste and class, while the third highlights the interplay between caste and politics.

The fourth section covers old and new challenges in law and policy. Emergent research areas are represented in section five and section six showcases post-Mandal innovations in caste studies. This transdisciplinary volume brings together sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists, historians, economists and others. It will be essential reading for students and scholars across these disciplines

In our Sociology section, Rs. 750, in paperback, 783 pages, ISBN: 9788125055013

Revisiting 1956: B. R. Ambedkar and States Reorganisation by Sudha Pai And Avinash Kumar from Orient Blackswan.

In 1938, when he opposed the formation of Karnatak Province along linguistic lines, Ambedkar pointed out, ‘… we have been living together … only to emphasise the fact that those who want that this unity be sundered … must consider this matter in a much more serious way and not on grounds which are purely sentimental.’

When the Indian identity was in its embryo, he feared that fostering cultural identities would result in separate nationalities. By 1953, after the formation of Andhra State, he pointed at the lack of proper thinking that had gone into the merger. In 1956, when the States Reorganisation Commission submitted its report, he identified its flaws, and famously laid down his ‘One state, one language’ principle.

The speeches, tracts and articles that Ambedkar produced on these lines were soon forgotten. And now, as new states are being formed, Ambedkar’s works find renewed relevance. When he called the merger of Telangana and Telugu-speaking areas of Madras Presidency as ‘artificial’, Ambedkar showed remarkable vision that administrators can learn from. In laying criteria for reorganisation of states—viability, size, economic feasibility, equality, federal balance, and the divisive issue of language—he has already addressed concerns that the contemporary common man now asks.

Along with addressing students and scholars of political science, demography, public administration and Indian History, Revisiting 1956 resurrects the leader’s works from oblivion and presents relevant portions from them for the general, interested reader.

In our Politics section, Rs. 625, in hardback, 256 pages, ISBN: 9788125055143

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