Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Patronage as Politics in South Asia

Patronage as Politics in South Asia by Anastasia Piliavsky from Cambridge University Press (India).

Western policymakers, political activists and academics alike see patronage as the chief enemy of open, democratic societies. Patronage, for them, is a corrupting force, a hallmark of failed and failing states, and the obverse of everything that good, modern governance ought to be. Healthy democracies stamp out patronage. South Asia poses a frontal challenge for this consensus. Here the world’s most populous, pluralist and animated democracy is also a hotbed of corruption with persistently startling levels of inequality.

Patronage as Politics in South Asia confronts this paradox with calm erudition: sixteen essays by anthropologists, historians and political scientists show, from a wide range of cultural and historical angles, that in South Asia patronage is no feudal residue or retrograde political pressure, but a political form vital in its own right.

This volume suggests that patronage is no foe to South Asia’s burgeoning democratic cultures, but may in fact be their main driving force. The landmark volume is essential reading for students of South Asia, political scientists, economists, policymakers and anyone interested in the politics of the Indian subcontinent and the wider world.

In our Anthropology section, Rs. 895, in hardback, 480 pages, ISBN: 9781107056084

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