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

Discussion

If the question of theory is approached in terms of the frontier as a problematic of space, then a universal idea of the human condition becomes theoretically possible when the basis is something other than the idea of the human per se.

In this brief rejoinder to G Raveendran’s article “Good and Bad Statistics” (EPW, 16 September 2023), the authors argue that there is no empirical or theoretical ground for treating rates and ratios from the National Sample Survey as more reliable, under the assumption of similar underestimation in the numerator as well as the denominator.

Responding to K M Sreekumar and K D Prathapan’s paper “An Evidence-based Inquiry into the Endosul­fan Tragedy in Kasaragod, Kerala” ( EPW, 9 October 2021, pp 45–53), some of the data from the original paper is reanalysed to arrive at different conclusions.

This article responds to a debate in Economic & Political Weekly on the state of theory in Indian academia. While earlier interventions focused on the “who” and “how” questions related to the subject and work of theory, a more fundamental question is addressed here: Why theory at all? In our age of permanent crises, the necessity to make a case for theory that can interpret the world rather than change it for the good has arisen due to the dominance of problem-solving and solution-driven approaches adopted by the social sciences.

There has been a public debate on the quality of offi cial statistics being produced by the Indian statistical system. The debate was initiated by persons holding high positions in the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister and claimed that the existing survey mechanisms were archaic and not adapted for rapid changes, and thus grossly underestimated India’s progress. It also made an assessment that India’s offi cial statistics are excellent on the administrative side and mediocre on censuses and surveys. This article examines the basis on which the above statements were made and proves its fallacy.

India’s trade deficit with China has been continuously increasing over the years and is a major cause for concern to all stakeholders. In this context, India–China trade is analysed in detail to explore the reasons for unbalanced bilateral trade and its implications. Further, the article examines the market access difficulties for India’s exports to China and suggests alternative solutions, including intra-industry trade model with ASEAN countries, to reduce dependency on China.

The use of artificial intelligence platforms like ChatGPT cannot be defended by invoking the conventional principles of copyright law in India. The legal and ethical issues that arise from the creation and dissemination of derivative works using AI platforms are discussed in this article.

A review of the book, Rule of the Commoner: DMK and the Formations of the Political in Tamil Nadu, 1949–67 (2022), by Rupa Viswanath was published in EPW (1 April 2023). The authors wish to respond to the review by presenting some of the core issues that this book is concerned with, to enable a larger discussion of electoral democracy in India.

Caste as a system of Brahminical ideas derived from Hinduism in isolation from material conditions and history, a view common to non-Marxist caste studies, is a mystification. The Marxist view of caste as a social relation of production rooted in economic, political, and cultural conditions specific to time and space is a demystification. Neither the theory of caste nor the praxis of its annihilation, which was Ambedkar’s dream, is conceivable outside Marxism.

A response to “Ethics and Empathy: Doing Ethnography in Conflict Zones” (EPW, 16 April 2022) highlights how ethical considerations are inseparable from any research, especially so in the context of a conflict zone.

This article attempts to look into the concept of othering in the context of urban development. The major motivation for the initiation of this article came after reading Dipankar Gupta’s book review....

There was a significant reduction in the overall estimated footfall for outpatient and inpatient care at the all-India level between 2014 and 2017–18. However, the reduction in estimated footfalls was significantly higher in private facilities as compared to public facilities. Also, states with better health infrastructure observed a relatively lesser reduction in the overall footfall under public facilities than states with weaker health infrastructure. Across all economic deciles, there was no significant fall in the proportion of patients utilising public healthcare facilities in 2017–18 compared to 2014.

A response to “Famines in India” (EPW, 26 June 2021) pushes for an interrogation of the character of the colonial state, mainly the rule of property, and its complicit role in engendering famine-like conditions.

In a reply to contemporary philosopher Sundar Sarukkai’s argument editorial comment, “Uniformity or Equality?” (EPW, 12 February 2022) that school uniforms symbolise disciplinary order, this article argues that school uniforms, at the same time, uphold the essential patriarchal order. It extends the argument by underlining that the hijab controversy can be read as a call to seek a shift within the prevalent patriarchal order to instal a more overarching and homogenising one in its place .