ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Sujata Patel

Researching Gandhi’s Ideas on Women

This paper uses this author’s earlier paper from 1988 on M K Gandhi’s ideas on women in order to reinterpret it in terms of contemporary feminist perspectives. It lays bare the theories and methodologies used in the earlier paper and suggests that such reflexive interventions are necessary when assessing the thoughts and practices of figures such as Gandhi, whose ideas have been given new meanings in and through contemporary commentaries. It argues that Gandhi’s perspective on women needs to be situated within his project of structuring a new modernity for the emerging and evolving Indian nation, and should be perceived through the lens of hegemonic masculinity.

The Challenge of Doing Sociology Today

Sociologists study how new societies evolve from the deadwood of the old, while anthropologists study a "static" culture that could not transcend its internal structures to become modern. Contending that this binary and its methodologies became the leitmotif of the organisation of anthropology/sociology in all former colonies, including India, this article points out efforts being undertaken since the 1970s to displace the social sciences from its colonial episteme, such as those provided by feminist perspectives.

Sociological Study of Religion

This article explores and critiques the semblances between the discourse on sociology of religion and that of ideology of Hindu majoritarianism. Both were fashioned in late 19th century and drew from the binaries inherited through colonial modernity. Sociologists of religion in India have asserted similar propositions regarding the discrete cultural practices of groups in India, and thereby implicitly propounded a theory of majoritarianism. We need to develop an alternate sociological language and free ourselves from the language of colonial modernity in order to evaluate the processes that make majoritarianism a dominant ideology today.

Empowerment, Co-option and Domination

The studies presented in this collection analyse Maharashtra's Employment Guarantee Scheme from a sociological and a political perspective. They investigate the variety of ways in which the political mobilisation of the oppressed takes place and simultaneously examine the manipulations by the ruling Maratha landed caste to disempower and eventually co-opt such struggles in order to perpetuate its own political dominance. This research analyses the contestations that have emerged in the context of this programme in the last three decades as groups and classes have confronted each other in using the EGS to further their own respective interests.