ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Information Order in Colonial India

to maintain some kind of balance between the town and the village. The lure of the city for many villagers was a myth that could not be taken for granted. Most villagers went to the town "so that they could ultimately remain in the village". Racine also tries to put the findings of his team of researchers in a comparative perspective taking into account some of the studies from Latin America, Africa and China. His main attempt is to show the flaws of the Harris-Todaro variety of theories that try to explain migrations almost exclusively through 'push' and "pull' factors, assuming individual choice to be an autonomous reality. On the contrary, Racine, along with his team, convincingly shows how migrations in contemporary rural India are determined by the whole gamut of relations and INCREASINGLY, a major strand in historiography has sought to examine the ways in which the British presence in the subcontinent was relevant to changing Indian conceptions of cultural and political identity. Research on colonial hegemony focusing on the study of discourses of power became of great importance in the wake of Edward Said's Orientalism, Sometimes such work questioned the possibility of autonomous agency on the part of the colonised. Subsequently, at various points in time, the ensuing debate examined 'derivative discourses', 'fragments' and 'community' bonds to probe the role they played in the formation of nationalist identities. A parallel stream of scholarly work has also attempted to locate the reasons behind the creation of the imagined communities' of the nation state through the study of texts, language, literature, printing and education. Empire and Information, an important and path- breaking work, which interrogates the relationship between colonial knowledge and the 'information order', backed up by an impressive web of empirical details, should be understood in the backdrop of the broad questions raised by such research. Empire and Information seeks to investigate 'communication and the movement of knowledge' (p I) within north Indian society between 1800 and 1857. Placing itself within the analytical framework of the information order', seen as central to social change, the book suggests conditions associated with a backward socio-economic structure with agrarian relations playing a central role.

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