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

Before EconomicsSubscribe to Before Economics

Sociology and Common Sense

Andre Beteille Besides the empirical grounding in careful observation and description of facts, sociology as a discipline is characterised by its rigorous search for interconnections among different domains of society and its systematic use of comparisons. These preoccupations make sociology anti-utopian in its claims and anti-fatalistic in its orientation, and distinguish its 'generalised' knowledge from localised commonsensical knowledge.

Savaging the Civilised-Verrier Elwin and the Tribal Question in Late Colonial India

Verrier Elwin and the Tribal Question in Late Colonial India Ramachandra Guha In the huge collection of the records of the All India Congress Committee, housed at the Nehru Memorial Museum in New Delhi, one is hard put to find a reference to tribals this in contrast to the attention paid to women, untouchables and religious minorities. Curiously, this absence in the official nationalist archive is reproduced by the radical historiography of our times, which like the Congress nationalists it sets itself in opposition to has had scarcely a word to say about tribals, this in contrast to the dozens of exegeses, scholarly and polemical, it has provided on the prehistory of the communal question, the caste question, or the women's question.

Agricultural Modernisation and Education-Contours of a Point of Departure

Contours of a Point of Departure Krishna Kumar The English-speaking ruling elites of the 1960s were keen to propagate the US-inspired strategy of agricultural modernisation based on modern technologies. This was reflected in the Kothari Commission report on education, which sidelined the concept of basic education in favour of general elementary education for rural children intended to inculcate a scientific outlook.

The Politics of Ecology-The Debate on Wildlife and People in India, 1970-95

The Debate on Wildlife and People in India, 1970-95 Mahesh Rangarajan If the older preservationist agenda looks like it is in deep trouble, it still has a lot of life left in it. The preservationists' shortcoming was their reliance on the state machinery, in particular on the legislative and executive power of the union government. But neither a technocracy or bureaucracy acting as the arbiter of conflicts nor a free market system which may tilt towards privatisation of open access resources would address ecological issues adequately, whereas the assertion of people's rights has the potential for a different kind of conservation-oriented control of their lives and lands. The question then becomes one of working out a new set of relations with the forest which will be enduring both for the people and the natural world. How this will be done at a time of demographic growth and agrarian intensification will be a major challenge and site-specific approaches will play a vital role.
Back to Top