On institutional pathologies and predicaments

VIVEK BHANDARI

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AS one looks back at the year that has gone by, proceedings of the 2013 monsoon session of the Indian Parliament stand out for at least two reasons. First, in this extraordinary session, Parliament presided over the passage of two historic legislations (the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, and the National Food Security Act, 2013), together with enactments on pensions, the rights of street vendors, and manual scavengers – all with far-reaching consequences. Second, the functioning of the legislature in this session was in marked contrast to a number of preceding parliamentary gatherings that were characterized by disruptions, grandstanding and obstructionism. One would have expected the electorate to sit up and take note of this performance boost among their legislators, but somewhat mystifyingly, the public’s reaction was, to put it mildly, somnolent.

Why have Indians come to feel this sense of anomie and resignation about their legislators? As we enter 2014, an election year, it is evident to most Indians that their country’s institutional apparatus is bursting at the seams. Whether one looks at the private sector’s assertions about policy paralysis in Delhi; the growing cacophony from civil society groups about the utter inability of the Indian state to fulfil its promises on matters ranging from environmental exploitation and corruption, to violence against women and the adivasi predicament; or just the sense of raw frustration that citizens feel when they go shopping for groceries, there is emerging consensus that India’s institutions need a comprehensive reboot. Despite the euphoria about India’s rapid progress over the past few decades and the jingoism about ‘India Shining’, all is not well with the Republic. Even as people go through the rituals of democracy, mobilizing around political parties, debating, voting, and so on, many are also questioning the fundamentals of their polity.1

This means that in today’s India, as and when India’s parliamentarians come up with new legislations, or for that matter the judiciary passes a path-breaking judgment – citizens, civil society groups, and the private sector measure the worth of these actions against the Indian state’s ability to actually get things done in ways that matter. And when viewed this way, many new legislations or policy prescriptions of the past few decades, whatever their progressive promise, appear as little more than populist rhetorical gestures that serve more as fodder for shrill primetime debates on television rather than the radical interventions that they purport to be (and indeed would be, if there were any hope of their actually getting implemented imaginatively).2 The prevailing view, it would seem, is that politicians are self-serving and opportunistic, bureaucrats are entrenched and venal, and the judiciary erratically interventionist but essentially conservative.

 

It is obvious that civil servants, politicians and judges cannot all be caricatured this way, and there are many good people in the system. Unfortunately, the problem is not personal, but structural. It is clear that many in India have come to feel that even though the quantum and breadth of the country’s economic and social churn is impressive, the systemic pathologies and structural weaknesses of the country’s post-colonial state apparatus are now causing what Atul Kohli, referring to an earlier period of Indian history, described as a ‘growing crisis of governability.’ The scale of today’s crisis is perhaps more daunting than in the past, not least because it is undermining the legitimacy of formal institutions in the minds of many in India’s large and capricious population. This essay argues that the reason for this is the growing disconnect between the country’s mainstream institutions (which are weighed down by their own orthodoxies and the resulting inertias), and the ideals and values that a number of India’s citizens hold dear at the ideological and identitarian levels.

 

In mainstream policy circles it is argued with considerable passion that India needs better institutions. Running in tandem with such demands is a discourse on ‘civil service reform’, and the need to professionalize the bureaucracy. These demands are usually made as part of an argument for streamlining the implementation of schemes and projects, and more generally, the urgent need of bringing efficiency and accountability to public systems that are failing to deliver. They are also a cry for help from a governmental apparatus whose cup runneth over, and which, with the passage of each new legislation and policy prescription, is being asked to do more than it has historically been able to manage.

At the heart of this plea for better institutions lies a far more complex problem. One’s interpretation of this exhortation – that India needs good institutions – depends largely on an understanding of why an institution exists, what it does, towards what end, and, for whom. Systems and processes are not produced in a vacuum, but the result of the complex interplay between people who articulate ideas in a context, and then mobilize the available capital and labour to create them. But once the systems and processes are put into place, the successful implementation of institutional rules and systems is tied to their legitimacy in the minds of those who are expected to follow them. Put in a nutshell, an institution is only as good and effective as the legitimacy it enjoys in the minds of the people it serves.

 

At the risk of being esoteric, it is provocative to approach the history of institution building in India by borrowing, to the extent necessary, from the work of Michel Foucault on the disciplinary regimes that undergird modern life in Europe.3 One of the most insightful commentators on the subject of how ideas and power are intertwined, Foucault was able to meticulously excavate the subtle ways in which the production of knowledge, the creation of disciplinary processes (and therefore institutions), and the assertion of raw power reinforce each other. His work reveals how an understanding the relationship between knowledge, institutional processes, and politics, can demystify the structural logic of a controlling regime (such as a government) and the kinds of presuppositions that sustain it.4

In view of the problems facing India’s institutional apparatus, it is fair to ask two interrelated questions: First, what is the assemblage of the mindsets, vocabularies, and processes (i.e., what Foucault calls governmentality) that has come to be embedded in the institutions that sustain the lives of Indians who have made the transition from colonial to post-colonial, and then from Nehruvian to free market India? Second, since institutional legitimacy is tied to who is doing the legitimizing, what is the relationship of this institutional apparatus with the fast-evolving ways in which Indians are reconfiguring their notions of ‘self’, of their ‘Indianness’, as they make their peace with globalization?5 Put differently, how do institutions that have carried orthodoxies associated with colonialism, state-led development and the staid nationalism of the 20th century, find validation in the lives of today’s Indians whose view of their nation is now moving away from those orthodoxies, towards a variety of different conceptions of identity, selfhood, and sovereignty?6

 

These questions, interrelated as they are, are unfortunately rarely raised simultaneously in discussions about the challenges facing India today.7 Posing them together reminds us that the nation state is fundamentally an assemblage of institutions (an institutional apparatus, if you will), and at its heart, the manifestation of an attempt by nation builders to reconcile ideologies and ideals on the one hand, with systems and controls on the other. The last time such ‘reconciliation’ was attempted in the Indian context was when the national movement was gaining momentum at the end of the 19th century. This was a period when a variety of voices, from cultural essentialists and religious revivalists, to anarchists and Marxists, were engaged in a cacophonous debate over their version of ‘India’. For those questioning the legitimacy of the British empire and colonial modernity, the articulation of ideas of independence (azadi, swaraj, etc.) and nation-statehood was an exciting liberatory project. The promise of national liberation was also marked, at least conceptually, by a dramatic rewriting of the past, opening up new avenues for imaging the future (even as many of these pathways were drawn from an arcadian understanding of competing traditions and histories).

 

Ananya Vajpeyi’s book, Righteous Republic, has approached these issues in a refreshing way. Vajpeyi constructs an analysis around a term that served as potent rallying cry in the early days of Indian nationalism and continues to excite the Indian imagination, the idea of ‘swaraj’ (self-rule).8 Acknowledging that the issue of the ‘raj’ in ‘swaraj’ referred to the pursuit of political independence from colonial rule, and therefore the goal of political sovereignty, Vajpeyi chooses instead to focus on the ‘swa-’ (i.e., the ‘self’) part of the term. Then she asks: What were the different ways in which prominent intellectuals opposed to colonialism in the early 20th century imagine conceptions of the Indian ‘self,’ of the ‘swa-’ in ‘swaraj’?9

 

Through her approach, Vajpeyi reveals the complex ways in which Indian intellectuals sought a way out of their colonial predicament, and in doing so, deepens our grasp of how the category of the Indian self, which serves as the basis for what is Indian about ‘the people’ in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution, came to be imagined by some of the most important voices of modern India. Without explicitly saying so, the analysis also provides greater clarity on which ideas, and whose ideas, came to be encoded in the institutional structures that emerged in independent India. Just as significantly, it opens up the question of which voices were silenced, or marginalized. As we know all too well, many of these voices continue to excite the imagination of many in India today, and indeed, have been joined by new ones.

 

It is through an understanding of competing Indian selves jostling for space in a crowded polity, and how far these are accommodated in the rough and tumble of Indian institutional life today that one may better grasp the character of the interface between the Indian state and its citizenry. Particular, historically contingent ideologies shaped the organizational attributes that came to be woven into the fabric of India’s mainstream institutions at different stages of the country’s history. Most of these institutions were created between the Pax Britannica and the Nehruvian developmental state, and carry the orthodoxies of their time. This means that while they espouse liberal democratic ideals in principle, they also embody a colonial mindset with all the prejudices that it brings, or the paternalism of a socialist state, or indeed bits of both.

The promulgation of the Indian Constitution in 1950 did mark a break with the colonial past because it succeeded in articulating a set of principles that have provided an enduring moral compass to help the institutional apparatus of independent India to evolve in ways that serve the greater common good, but clearly old habits and attitudes die hard at the administrative and operational levels.

 

At the risk of overstatement, it could be argued that despite the incremental progress made over the years, many of the inertias and prejudices that characterized the colonial state’s governance apparatus, instead of fading away, became ossified in the early years of independence. When Pandit Nehru ceremoniously declared that dams were the ‘temples of modern India’ in 1963, he articulated a vision that sought to meet three challenges confronting India at Independence.

First was the prioritization of rapid economic growth to address the welfare needs of India’s enormous population within a federal governance structure. The emphasis on planned economic growth – through top-heavy institutions – was put in the service of a second ideal: the need for modern infrastructure, which would provide the material grid within which India’s masses could conduct their lives as citizens of a socialist republic. These goals were, for Pandit Nehru, central to the realization of an ideal: the need to map liberal democracy onto the legislative design put into place by the British earlier in the century. A commitment to such lofty ideals notwithstanding, institution building in Nehru’s period functioned within the parameters of the eponymous ‘Bhabha model’ which, by its very nature, led to the creation of elite, centralized, often paternalistic, institutions.

By the time Indira Gandhi became a national political figure, a whole generation of Indians had been marked by their contact with such systems, and Nehruvian institutions had become normalized. Of course, the political churning of the Indira years, most dramatically punctuated by the Emergency, came at a time when India’s socialist planned economy was having to compete with alternative economic visions. Some of these came from India’s increasingly vocal middle class, members of which began to feel hemmed in by India’s closed economy; others from Lohiates like Jayaprakash Narayan. Even as the effects of an incipient globalization began to seep into the nooks and crannies of a restless India in the 1980s, economic reforms were adopted in the 1990s. The early-1990s are considered a watershed for good reason, something that is perhaps most deeply felt in the way that the state had to recalibrate its relationship with the private sector, and for this reason, civil society.

 

This brings us to today, an environment in which the entrenched systems created in the Nehruvian years are an indelible part of the institutional landscape, but a landscape also populated by organizations that are a product of the era of economic liberalization. It is clear that since the late-1980s and early ’90s, branches of India’s governmental apparatus have been struggling to negotiate the pressures of keeping up with a globalizing India with all of its attendant energies – an information economy, accelerated migrations, an emerging rural-urban continuum, the widening gap between rich and poor, and so on. Simultaneously, and just as importantly, the distinctions between the state, private sector, and civil society have become fuzzier since the early 1990s, posing serious questions about the character of India’s democratic culture, what drives it, towards what end.

For many at the apex level, this ‘end’ is the pursuit of economic well-being through sustained economic growth, and the creation of the policies, institutions and infrastructure that facilitate this pursuit in ways that are expected to serve the common good. But even as most political parties have embraced the mantra of economic growth today, thereby triggering a phase of ‘predatory economic rationalism,’ it is unclear how many Indian citizens have actually experienced the benefits of a growing economy.10 Atul Kohli, in his fine survey of the past three decades aptly entitled, Poverty Amid Plenty in the New India argues that in this period, even as the ruling classes have used the language of ‘inclusive growth’, they have solidified their relationship with business interests, thereby triggering a phase of rapid economic dynamism, but little redistribution or inclusion. This transition, from the era of the socialist developmental state, according to Kohli, has been ‘managed’ in such a way that the country has entered a phase in which once periodic elections are over and the people have had their say, India’s rulers pursue pro-growth, pro-business policies in the hope that the rising tide of economic growth will lift all boats.11

 

In this environment, in which stories of corruption and crony capitalism fly fast and furious, it is hard not to speculate on what is driving it all in the corridors of institutional life. It could be argued that the prevailing mindset in many mainstream institutions is the manifestation of a new form of ‘governmentality’, to invoke Foucault, in which the structural logic of post-colonial institutions, with all of their attendant pathologies, has been domesticated to serve the interests of India’s version of neo-liberal capitalism, which is a result of India’s attempt to compress the equivalent of centuries of western capitalist development into a few decades.

 

India’s new capitalism is a peculiar animal, in which institutional arrangements of a colonial vintage preside over a vibrant informal economy often caricatured as that of jugaad,12 which has reconfigured social equations (including those of ethnicity and caste in some parts of India) and re-routed capital flows, but in which the class character of state power has not changed significantly. Indeed, this is partly reinforced by the government’s organizational inability to effectively redistribute public goods even as rights-based legislations, which promise redistribution on a massive scale, have been enacted at a rapid clip. Little wonder then, that the Indian public is wondering what its institutions are up to. As Kohli demonstrates, social inequality has increased since 1991, despite the rhetoric of equal opportunity. And a big reason for this is the entrenched character of an institutional apparatus dating back over a century, a governmental regime which, in its present form, appears ill-equipped to redistribute wealth, or accommodate the competing demands being placed on it by globally aware, growth oriented ruling alliances seeking to remain in power election after election.

It is tempting to ask whether the righteousness and the moral urgency that the early nation builders imagined for a free Indian Republic is, in fact, reflected in contemporary ground realities. Most would answer this question in the negative, since the country is clearly struggling to resolve a variety of social and institutional pathologies. The ongoing debates about corruption in public life and violence against women in India punctuate this mood all too well, as does the fact the Indian state is at war with many of its own people in large swathes of the central Indian tribal heartland and the northeastern states over issues of land acquisition, cultural autonomy for adivasis, natural resources, etc. Even a cursory glance around the map of India cannot but fail to remind us of how contentiously the different Indian selves – from the adivasi and dalit selves on the one hand, to the globalizing, liberalizing, nationalist selves on the other – continue to shape the destiny of the Indian Republic.

 

An added complication, by no means an insignificant one, comes from the size and complexity of what euphemistically gets called India’s ‘informal’ sector. India has always had a sprawling informal economy (90%+) that has coexisted with India’s organized sector for over a century. In the social domain, for many Indians their affiliations with community, caste, and religious institutions that have no ‘official’ sanction are profoundly important to them. Attempts by the state to ‘formalize’ the informal social and economic arrangements have had limited success, and it is fascinating how the people of India have managed to negotiate the challenges of reconciling formal and informal, official and unofficial institutional spaces while weaving the fabrics of their lives.

The fact remains, however, that since these informal realities are rarely reflected in the interface between large numbers of Indians and their government, the relationship of these people with formal institutions of the government is at best a matter of convenience, not a reflection of an abiding faith in their government. This means, by extension, that their sense of self has, it were, at best a strategic relationship with the formal self that is woven into the ‘swaraj’ of the nation state.13

 

Where do we go from here? India’s political institutions are at an interesting juncture in their history, not least because their relationship with the citizenry is in deep flux. Quite simply, today the distinctions between the state, private sector and civil society are murkier than ever before. India’s government today has no hesitation in seeking the help of the private sector and civil society actors in order to sustain its developmental, welfare agenda. (This is best punctuated by the proliferation of PPPs – ‘public private partnerships’ – over the past decade; and the creation of the National Advisory Council in 2004 is the strongest acknowledgement of the government’s formal acceptance of a role for civil society at the central level.)

Today’s civil society organizations, far from embodying an autonomous realm of citizens exercising critical surveillance over the state, actually work in alignment with the private sector and the government, often receiving funds from both. And the private sector has chosen to actively embrace a social agenda, something that is evident from the unprecedented boom in the number of India’s philanthropic foundations and trusts that are actively ‘impact investing’ in a variety of social enterprises and schemes, often in collaboration with the government and NGOs.

As we look to the future, it is difficult to discern which sphere – the state, private sector, or civil society – will exercise greater authority over others at any particular moment. To invoke an old Marxist phrase, it is not clear where the ‘prime mover’ is. This is a far cry from the colonial or Nehruvian years, when it was clear that the locus of power was, for all intents and purposes, a state working closely with business or landed elites.

 

In this scenario, institutions of the state – the legislature, executive, and judiciary – are required to tread a fine line if they are to be effective in ways that are ideologically and functionally consistent with their mandate. At one level, they have to perform in ways that are aligned with their economic context while remaining true to the principles enshrined in the Constitution. But they have to do this while relying on a sprawling institutional apparatus whose branches carry their founding orthodoxies into an India that has chosen to embrace global inter-connectedness and the free market even as millions of Indians struggle to meet their basic needs. In treading this fine line, a tall order under any circumstances, India’s institutions are confronted with a loftier, more daunting challenge if they are to transcend the pathologies that plague them today. They have to work towards earning the fast eroding trust of the citizenry whose interests they serve. It is a truism of political theory that political legitimacy is considered a basic condition for governing. This legitimacy can be generated in two ways.

First, at the functional level, institutions have to perform tasks and deliver tangible outcomes that a citizenry expects of them. Do people get electricity when they need it? Does the garbage get cleaned up? Rather than counting post offices to demonstrate its reach, the postal service must ensure that the mail is getting delivered. Instead of counting the numbers of enrolled students, educators must find out if the kids are learning anything. This sort of ‘fix’ is what keeps India’s proliferating army of techno-managers and bureaucrats on their feet, but the ‘deliverables’, to invoke their terminology, are far from visible. This will need to change if the goal is to bolster the faith of citizens in their public systems.

 

Second, institutions are not just functional entities; they also carry ideological baggage. For this reason, there is a need for far greater convergence between the attitudes and values that institutions embody, and those that a citizenry actually holds dear in its ideological commitments, cultural formations, and economic arrangements. Abstract (and conceivably utopian) as this may sound, this is synergy at the level of a shared understanding of the ‘self,’ of the peoples’ on the one hand, and the identities/values hard-wired into the body politic of the nation state on the other. This convergence provides the foundation for a genuinely unifying conception of sovereignty for the polity as a whole. In India, due to its size and diversity, it is unclear how far the experience of national unity over the past six decades has actually fostered the emergence of shared understanding of such foundational categories across the population as a whole.

It is also important to clarify that the search for such convergence between the people and their institutions is not about arriving at a singular or homogenizing sense of identity. Such a quest involves thinking creatively about the very idea of citizenship itself, and working towards the creation of an inclusive conception of citizenship in which multiple notions of the self are accommodated; a notion of ‘flexible citizenship’, if you will. India is not alone in this quest, as examples from around the world demonstrate well.14

Today, perhaps more than ever before, conceptions of the Indian ‘self’ are being dramatically reconfigured as the country negotiates the uncertainties of global inter-connectedness, the emergence of post-Cold War geographies, and the unprecedented movements of people and ideas. These new configurations are shaping conceptions of sovereignty that bring discussions about the evolving character of the state and its institutions into sharper focus, and by extension, signal subtle and not so subtle subversion of past orthodoxies. The relationship between states and citizens is being tested the world over, and India is no exception.

In the end, it comes down to something very simple: Institutions need to be in harmony with the needs and values of the people they serve, otherwise they become inconsequential, or worse, tyrannical. Legitimate institutions are nothing if not an embodiment of the ideals, ideologies, and identities that constitute a polity. India’s institutions are at an important crossroads, because though they have been at the receiving end of public ire for some time now, the longevity and resilience of India’s democratic experiment demonstrates that they still have the capacity to transcend the pathologies that plague them today.

 

Footnotes:

1. This sort of disenchantment is not limited to the Indian context. Dissatisfaction with the status quo has manifested itself in unexpected ways around the world in the past decade, as the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street gatherings illustrate all too well. The recent events in Thailand are additional proof of how widespread these events are. Alain Badiou’s writings on the subject have led him to proclaim these episodes, somewhat melodramatically, as ‘the rebirth of history’. See his, The Rebirth of History: Times of Riots and Uprisings, London, 2012.

2. Since the early 1990s, some of the most significant legislations include the following: 73rd and 74th Amendments which have devolved power to the ‘third tier’, i.e. panchayats, municipalities, and other local bodies; the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996, also known as PESA; the Right to Information Act, 2005; Right to Education Act, 2009; the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. In 2013, these were supplemented by the two legislations mentioned in the first paragraph of this essay.

3. In Foucault’s formulations, the concept of ‘governmentality’ captures the essence of a mentality that had provided the common ground for all modern forms of political thought and action. Governmentality, he argued, was an ‘ensemble formed by the institutions, procedures, analyses and reflections, the calculations and tactics, that allow the exercise of this very specific albeit complex form of power.’ Michel Foucault ‘On Governmentality’, I&C 6, pp. 5-22.

4. According to Peter Miller and Nikolas Rose, understanding the governmentality embedded in any regime means capturing the interplay between the mentalities that have constituted attempts to modulate economic activity (i.e., the flow of capital), ‘the varying vocabularies through which economic activity has been rendered thinkable, the different problems that have concerned these mentalities, the role of intellectual technologies of theorization and inscription within them, the diversity of regulatory technologies that have been invented together with the difficulties of implanting them, and the key role that has been taken by and accorded to expertise. It is the assemblage formed by this heterogeneity, and in particular in the part accorded to the self-regulating activities of ‘private’ social actors under the guidance of expertise, that the possibility has emerged for governing the economic life of the nation in ways consonant with liberal democratic ideals.’ Peter Miller and Nikolas Rose, Governing the Present: Administering Economic, Social and Personal Life. Cambridge, 2008, p. 36. The use of the concept of the ‘assemblage’ owes a great deal to the writings of Bruno Latour.

5. If the nation state is an ‘imagined community’, as Benedict Anderson’s evocative phrase puts it, who is doing the ‘imagining’?

6. Akhil Gupta, in his recent path-breaking ethnography of bureaucratic systems and practices in contemporary India has used the concept of governmentality to unpack the impact of neo-liberal policies on the Indian state. See Akhil Gupta, Red Tape: Bureaucracy, Structural Violence, and Poverty in India, Delhi, 2012.

7. Sudipta Kaviraj is a notable exception in this regard. His voluminous writings, most notably the classic essay, ‘The Imaginary Institution of India’, demonstrates how complex the relationship between the histories of the diverse communities that populate the Indian landscape, and the peculiar form of governmentality that takes root in India really is because of the colonial experience. See Sudipta Kaviraj, ‘The Imaginary Institution of India’, Subaltern Studies VII, Delhi, 1992.

8. Arvind Kejriwal’s book that delineates his view of Indian politics and vision for the future is entitled Swaraj. It was released in 2012 as something of a manifesto.

9. See Ananya Vajpeyi’s, Righteous Republic: The Political Foundations of Modern India. Cambridge, 2013. Vajpeyi explains that the timing of these interrogations stems from the sense of an ‘epistemological break’, almost a sense of crisis that confronted these men in the wake of colonialism. This was a sense that they were at a juncture in history in which there was a pressing need to articulate what it meant to be ‘Indian’, indeed, to be a ‘civilization’. Her analysis then reveals the distinct ways in which five prominent intellectuals of modern India chose to set limits on what constituted their India, the distinctive connotation they accorded to the Indian ‘self.’ The five men in question are M.K. Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, B.R. Ambedkar, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Abanindranath Tagore.

10. This phrase comes from J.M. Coetzee’s obituary of Nelson Mandela in which, referring to the challenges that the latter faced, he says that ‘like the rest of the leadership of the ANC, he was blindsided by the collapse of socialism world-wide; the party had no philosophical resistance to put up against a new, predatory economic rationalism.’ Retrieved from: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/ nelson-mandela-held-his-turbulent-country-together-during-dangerous-years-20131206-2yus8.html

11. Atul Kohli, Poverty Amid Plenty in the New India. New Delhi, 2012, p. 9.

12. For a managerial conception of this, see Navi Radjou, Jaideep Prabhu, and Simone Ahuja’s, Jugaad Innovation: A Frugal and Flexible Approach to Innovation for the 21st Century. San Francisco, 2012.

13. While there is no room to expand on this in this essay, it is important to flag that for many Indians living at the margins of the Indian state, in regions like India’s north-eastern states for instance there is deep sense of detachment with discourses of Indian nationalism and all that it represents. As James C. Scott’s work has also argued recently, this disconnect is often felt by people living in the highlands in their relationships with plainspeople. See his, The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia. New Haven, 2010.

14. Aihwa Ong uses this phrase to describe how the creation of transnational publics over the past two decades as reconfigured notions of the self in fundamental ways. While her analysis focuses on the effects of international migration in the wake of economic globalization, her conception of ‘flexible citizenship’, has many lessons for the intranational movement of people, ideas, and identities within India. See her, Flexible Citizenship: The Cultural Logics of Transnationality. Durham and London, 1999.

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