Social Scientist. v 20, no. 228-29 (May-June 1992) p. 89.


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REVIEW ARTICLE / NEERA CHANDOKE"

Crisis of Governability?

Atui Kolhi, Democracy and Discontent: India's Growing Crisis of Governability, Cambridge University Press, 1991, price Rs 495

The field of political analysis has been sought to be hegemonized by the American Social Science establishment since the end of the second world war. The hegemonization has been carried out in two ways—one, agendas have been laid down as to how political phenomenon have to be studied—in other words it is held that this is the mode of explanations as how the social and the political world can be appropriated by theory. Agendas are modes of power because they lay down the frontiers of understanding, they dictate not only which problems are to be posed, they dictate how the problem has to be posed and they dictate which problem is not to be posed. The second way this is done is to demolish other ways of understanding and comprehension. The attempt has been underwritten by the establishment of various committees under the patronage of the Social Science Research Council. Why we in the post-colonial world accept such agendas is a question which belongs to ;he domain of the sociology of knowledge, but that we do is undeniable—maybe it is the lack of confidence in our own attempts to chart out our own agendas, maybe it is the lure of foreign funding at prestigious universities in the US which go a long way in our subsequent career graphs or maybe it is the outpouring of publications from abroad under reputed publishing houses, or simply, as I suspect, because the kind of work been done in our countries does not have access to wide publicity or distribution systems, or maybe it is all for which impels us to follow agendas laid down in the US to understand our own societies.

Agendas have been laid down and followed since the establishment of the Committee on Comparative Politics by the American Social Science Research Council in the mid 1950's. So much has been written about the causes for the setting up of the committee and sources of its funding that a recapitulation is unnecessary, the point is that both

Nehru Memoriarl Museum and Libcrary, New Delhi

Social Scientist Vol. 20, Nos. 5-6, May-June 1992



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