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

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Identity, Community, and Conflict

Identity and its relation to ethnicity and community, on one side, and conflict, on the other, have emerged as salient topics for scholarly investigation in the social sciences. Both internationally and domestically, there has been a steady outpouring of writings on the subject. This paper surveys the trends in this engagement in India during the last three decades, exploring the aspects and dimensions of the relationship among identity, community and conflict seen in the literature in different social sciences.

Revisiting Communalism and Fundamentalism in India

This comprehensive review of the literature on communalism - and its virulent offshoot, fundamentalism - in India considers the various perspectives from which the issue has sought to be understood, from precolonial and colonial times to the post-Independence period. The writings indicate that communalism is an outcome of the competitive aspirations of domination and counter-domination that began in colonial times. Cynical distortions of the democratic process and the politicisation of religion in the early decades of Independence intensified it. In recent years, economic liberalisation, the growth of opportunities and a multiplying middle class have further aggravated it. More alarmingly, since the 1980s, Hindu communalism has morphed into fundamentalism, with the Sangh parivar and its cultural politics of Hindutva playing ominous roles.

Econophysics

Contemporary mainstream economics has become concerned less with describing reality than with an idealised version of the world. However, reality refuses to bend to the desire for theoretical elegance that an economist demands from his model. Modelling itself on mathematics, mainstream economics is primarily deductive and based on axiomatic foundations. Econophysics seeks to be inductive, to be an empirically founded science based on observations, with the tools of mathematics and logic used to identify and establish relations among these observations. Econophysics does not strive to reinterpret empirical data to conform to a theorist's expectations, but describes the mechanisms by which economic systems actually evolve over time.

Experimental Economics: A Survey

Over the past few decades, experimental methods have given economists access to new sources of data and enlarged the set of economic propositions that can be validated. This field has grown exponentially in the past few decades, but is still relatively new to the average Indian academic. The objective of this survey is to familiarise the Indian audience with some aspects of experimental economics. The survey attempts to bring to the interested reader a flavour of this field. The survey is presented in five separate articles after this introduction. The notes and references for all articles are at the end of the survey.
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