The Modern Prince and the Modern Sage: Transforming Power and Freedom


Edited by: Ananta Kumar Giri

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  • Part I: Reconstituting Power and Freedom: Modernity and Beyond

    Part II: Beyond the Modern Prince: Varieties of Struggles and New Intimations

    Part III: Transforming Power and Freedom: New Horizons

  • Copyright

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    For Gaura Devi, Lech Walesa, Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Thich Nhat Hahn, and millions of children, women and men struggling for freedom, dignity, peace and soulful togetherness in our times of war and terror.

    List of Tables

    • 7.1 Forms of power 141
    • 7.2 Forms of power and political systems 143
    • 7.3 Dimensions of power 144
    • 7.4 Gramsci and hegemony 146
    • 7.5 Foucault and power/knowledge 148
    • 9.1 Power in modernity, religion and culture of the ancestors 217
    • 10.1 Changing rates of subjective identifications 236
    • 10.2 Increasing rates of internet use by age group 239

    List of Figures

    • 10.1 Distribution of ideological orientations 228
    • 10.2 Nationalism versus globalism 228
    • 10.3 Conservative/progressive and nationalism/globalism 229
    • 10.4 Two axes of value orientation by education 230
    • 10.5 Values by birth cohort in Europe, East Asia and Africa 235
    • 24.1 Fairness and ecological sustainability 495
    • 24.2 Global temperature: Land–ocean index 498
    • 24.3 Human population 500

    Foreword: On the Political: An Introduction

    Ananta Kumar Giri has edited a fascinating book about power and politics around two key figures, the Modern Prince and the Modern Sage. How modern and how timeless can be discussed, but they are easily conjured up for our inner eyes, dressed in the garbs of their age. A third one is missing, the Modern Merchant, for instance in Venice. Sad for him that he did not make it to the book. But he can draw some comfort from the present era, no doubt that of the merchant in Sarkar's sense, of the vaisya, not the brahmin sage, nor the kshatriya prince. Like the others he is now dressed in a grey flannel suit with white shirt and blue tie, if not in jeans and checkered shirt. Their public persona have converged, but their keys to power and politics have remained the same, the power of bullets for the Prince, of ideas for the Sage and of money for the Merchant.

    Like most intellectuals, or so I presume, I prefer the Sage because that is where my own ambitions are located. In this short introduction I would like to sketch why I hold the Sage approach to the political to be at a higher level than the other two. They have their roles to play. But that is also all they have; theirs not to change reality unless we are dealing with a rare combination, the Prince, or Merchant, who is also a Sage.

    Let me illustrate building on the fable known to all Italian school children, Il lupo di Gubbio, The Wolf from Gubbio (a little village in the Apennines, close to Assisi)—but sadly distant from what passes for princes and sages in Italian politics. The winter was atrocious. So was the wolf, starving, and then descending on a village, eating one of the villagers.

    Enters the Sage, Saint Francis, Francesco d'Assisi. Brother Wolf he says, ‘what's the matter. ‘I am starving’, the wolf says. ‘But why did you eat that nice person in the village?’ ‘The only thing there was’, the wolf says, ‘what else is there?’ ‘Let me see’, Francesco says, leaving the wolf, entering the village.

    ‘Sisters and brothers’, he addresses them, ‘what's the matter?’ ‘That terrible wolf’, they answer in unison, ‘he just ate one of us’. ‘Very bad’, Francesco says, ‘but let me ask you a question: he is hungry and you always have some leftovers from your meals, could you imagine putting them in a bowl and place the bowl at night at the outskirts of the village?’ ‘OK’, they say, ‘but only once, to see whether it works. We really want to kill him!’

    Francesco goes back to the wolf, tells what happened and asks the wolf whether he could imagine helping himself from that bowl? ‘OK’, he answers, but only once, to see whether it works.

    So bowl and wolf meet, the content passes from the village bowl to the wolf's bowels, a happy, contented wolf. The experiment is repeated, and repeated, and the villagers find in the wolf an impeccable garbage dump, and the wolf in the village a bottomless source of leftovers. The wolf gradually conquers space and time by venturing further into the village, even at dusk and dawn, testing the waters. In the end the wolf is seated at the table, helping himself to his new favourites, occasionally donating an animal or two from his meager winter catch. And at the very end they are all dancing, brothers and sisters, with Francesco.

    However, when using this story to inspire a workshop of general staff Italian officers to solve the Iraq problem they said: ‘we are not Francesco’. And there were even two wolves, Bush and Saddam. Dear Reader, solve that one; be a Sage, not a Prince!

    Francesco, the Sage set the tone by humanizing both parties, the killer as well as those out to kill, as brothers and sisters. Using shuttle diplomacy he emphatically explores their goals, food and survival, both legitimate, and uses his Sage creativity to bridge that apparent incompatibility. He transcended, into a new reality of conviviality, and even helped solving an environmental problem.

    What would the Prince have done? Depending on whom he considers the most valuable future ally, the villagers or the wolves (assuming there are more wolves where he comes from), he would have given the green light, even the order, Kill the wolf!, or Go ahead, serve yourself from the villagers! But that is not politics defined as the art of the impossible, a Francesco making the incompatible compatible. This is merely politicking, creeping on the belly, licking some crumbs from the table of the Sage.

    What would the Merchant have done? Bargaining, and then a deal, some kind of compromise. How much is the wolf willing to pay for not being killed and what is the commission fee for a merchant who brokers that deal? Or, how much are the villagers willing to pay for not being killed? Killing is sweet, but money is also sweet and more lasting, and the merchant might become quite rich if he brokers both deals at the same time.

    The Prince injects orders as his approach to social order, the Merchant greases the system with money, and the Sage lifts the system to a higher level through the power of ideas. As everybody says, if it had not been impossible, then where is the art? Art is by definition to transcend, to create a new artistic reality. If it is just repetition then it is merely decorating, which is to art what politicking is to politics.

    The political is transcendence. And for transcendence a Sage is needed. To prevail a Prince suffices, for compromise a Merchant.

    Let us take on another example, another piece of Christianity, the Passion of the Christ, Matthew 27, to show the Prince rather than the Sage at work. We see the Passion as a drama with six roles, ala Pirandello, with well-known actors and well-known goals:

    • The Father: the Lord out to prove his love of humanity by sacrificing his Son and to prove that His will is the Law;
    • The Son: Jesus, the Christ, whose kingdom is not of this world but within and in the afterlife, wanting to be released from his fate, crying his Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani—my God, my God, why have you forsaken me (Matthew 27:46)—possibly hoping for an angel to intercede like the Angel of God did when Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22:17, in the Akedah);
    • Barabbas: the notorious criminal whose goal is to be set free;
    • Pontius Pilate: the governor of that Roman Empire province whose goal is to govern, with the consent of the people;
    • Caiaphas: the High Priest, whose goal, like for his people, is a kingdom of this world, an Israel, a Zion;
    • The Roman Empire, embodied in the Emperor whose goal is expansion and eternal life for the empire.

    Let us let loose as mediators the two Marias, the Mother and the Magdalena, with the task of the art of the impossible. But let us first take note of what in fact happened: Jesus is sacrificed, Barabbas is released, Pilate continues as governor, Caiaphas gets rid of a charismatic competitor. And in the background are the two columns of princely power, the power over life and death, the Lord and the Roman Empire, both untouched by the Golgata drama. Drama unfolds, but the sources of so many massacres ordered by God and of so much deprivation of freedom and subsistence built into the Roman Empire survive. Who said that the message is only in what changes, not (also) in what remains constant—like in John 3:16:

    For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    A latter day version, there are many between Golgata and Iraq:

    For Bush loved the world so much that he gave his only soldiers so that anyone who believes in Bush shall not perish but have eternal empire.

    A highly unacceptable story thus interpreted. We are dealing with ultimate level politics, so let us see what the two Marias might get out of this seemingly impossible situation.

    A conflict with six actors cannot be reduced to 15 bilateral conflicts, like that between wolf and villagers. There is something holistic about it. But let us assume that the Father is persuaded by the shouting of his son at about three o'clock to send the Angel of God. Jesus is released by the will of God, Barabbas by the will of the people, and Pilate is washing his hands. Building on the differences between their kingdoms Caiaphas may be persuaded to accept Jesus as a Minister of interior and posterior religious affairs not meddling too much into the here and now. There is a job prospect for the brawny Barabbas: as the Minister's bodyguard. Matthew 26–27 gives ample testimony to the need for some security.

    And Pilate is easily persuaded to continue as governor of an ever more autonomous province, in close cooperation with Caiaphas and his people, in a marriage of interest rather than love.

    With all four relatively content time then comes to turn to those two pillars of princely power. ‘I'll talk to my Father’, Jesus says, and ‘I'll talk to the Emperor’, Pilate says. And the Marias have some ideas: tell your Father that he is better off with his son alive than dead for the colossal task soon to be written up in Matthew 28:19–20, and tell the Emperor that more true strength can be derived from humane flexibility than from rigidity.

    As a conclusion God inspires humanity by compassion rather than doctrine. And the Roman Empire becomes a community of equals.

    Let us conclude after these exercises in the soft Christianity of the Sage, and the hard Christianity of the Princes, with an all time favourite, evidently more Muslim:

    Once upon a time a mullah was on his way on a camel to Mecca.

    Coming to an oasis he saw three men standing there, crying. So he stopped the camel, and asked, My children, what is the matter? And they answered, Our father just passed away, and we loved him so much. But, said the mullah, I am sure he loved you too, and no doubt he has left something behind for you?

    The three men answered: Yes, he did indeed, he left behind camels. And in his will it is stated 1/2 to the eldest son, 1/3 to the second and 1/9 to the youngest. We love camels, we agree with the parts to each. But there is a problem: he left behind 17 camels and we have been to school, we know that 17 is a prime number. Loving camels, we cannot divide them.

    The mullah thought for a while, and then said, I give you my camel, then you have 18. And they cried, No, you cannot do that, you are on your way to something important. The mullah interrupted them, My children, take the camel, go ahead.

    So they divided 18 by 2 and the eldest son got 9 camels, 18 by 3 and the second son got 6 camels, 18 by 9 and the youngest son got 2 camels: a total of 9 + 6 + 2 = 17 camels. One camel was standing there, alone: the mullah's camel. The mullah said: Are you happy? Well, then, maybe I can get my camel back?

    And the three men, full of gratitude, said, of course, not quite understanding what had happened. The mullah blessed them, mounted his camel, and the last they saw was a tiny cloud of dust, quickly settling in the glowing evening sun.

    That mullah was a Sage, like Francesco and the two Marias as here portrayed. There are many of them, probably many more than there are princes and merchants, and probably most of them less famous, mainly found close to the grassroots and maybe more often female than male, at least in the spirit.

    The reader will find this book a treasure trove of wisdom, leaving a Thucydides, a Macchicavelli and a Hobbes with all their tricky, violent advice for the Princes behind—granted that there may be some jewels also in that slam. Long live the Sage!

    Alfaz del Pi


    All people are children when they sleep

    There's no war in them then

    They open their hands and breathe

    In that quiet rhythm heaven has given them.

    They pucker their lips like small children

    And open their hands halfway

    Soldiers and statesmen, servants and masters

    The stars stand guard

    And haze veils the sky

    A few hours when no one will do anybody harm

    If only we could speak to another then

    When our hearts are half-open flowers

    Words like golden bees

    Would drift in

    God, teach them the language of sleep

    Jacobsen (2007: 45).

    No mere modification of our existing world view and the manner of human life that results from it can save us; what is required is a critical evaluation of the very foundations of modern culture and a new openness and honesty concerning the repressed fears that fuel beliefs and actions that are driving us to the edge of catastrophe.

    Smith (2007: 73).

    Life is self-fulfilment which moves upon a ground of mutuality; it involves a mutual use of one by the other, in the end of all by all. The whole question is whether this shall be done on the lower basis of the ego attended by strife, friction and collision with whatever checks and controls, or whether it can be done by a higher law of our being which shall discover a means of reconciliation, free reciprocity and unity.

    Aurobindo (1919: 603).

    This book has been a long journey beginning with an initial conversation I had in the fall of 1997 with Professor Ashok Vohra, then Member Secretary, Indian Council of Philosophical Research, at a very interesting and creative Gurudwara, Gurudwar Gyan Prakash, Ludhiana. Sant Baba Sucha Singh who is no more with us physically had created new spaces of dialogue in the Gurudwara and we were there to discuss the issue of concept of mind. It is in this radiating Gurudwaa and in the community of seeking souls that the seeds of this book were sown and it came to a provisional blossoming when some of the contributors of the book assembled at TMAM Research and Orientation Center in Kottayam in April 1999. Since then this seed has taken roots with the flow of love and life and my journey around the world in the last ten years has been blessed by my meeting with many kind and enriching souls who then have very graciously agreed to join us in this journey.

    The idea of this book grew in a Gurudwara and it is a joy on our part now to humbly present this flower to seeking humanity on Baisakhi day. Power and freedom are perennial human questions but at this moment of growing violence and ecological disaster, there is an epochal need to foundationally reconstitute these categories and be engaged with new modes of relationships of power and freedom which embody beauty, dignity, solidarity and responsibility. We hope that this flower is a humble contribution to this epochal search for new ways of thinking and being together.

    It is now our joy to humbly dedicate this flower to humanity and to the immortal work and loving spirit of Gaura Devi, Lech Walesa, Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Thich Nhat Hanh and millions of children, women and men who are striving and struggling for dignity, peace and soulful togetherness in this troubled time of ours. Four decades ago Gaura Devi had inspired the birth of Chipko movement in Uttarakhand which then had a world-wide influence in shaping the emerging environmental awareness around the world. When powerful axe men arrived to cut down trees from her village, Reni Gaura Devi told her fellow women: ‘My dear sisters! Now we can realize why our men folk have been taken away to the court on a false case. But even though our men folk are not here are we so helpless? Let us hug our trees and let the axe men fell us first.’ The axe men returned but this courageous act of resistance by putting one's body and soul on the front together inspired new modes of resistance and realization of consciousness around the world. I recall warmly the night I had spent with Gaura Devi, her son and his family in Reni in the summer of 1987. More than two decades have passed by now and Gaura Devi is not here physically to see this flower. Let us pay our tribute to her immortal spirit.

    Gaura Devi is probably little known in the world but it is these little known people who are fighting against tyranny of many kinds in myriad ways and helping us realize that there is a larger purpose in life beyond acquisition of money and power. Lech Walesa was also little known outside Gdansk before the emergence of Solidarity in 1980. But he and Solidarity contributed to peaceful overthrow of communist dictatorship in Poland, Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union and realization of dignity of people. As Walesa tells us in his autobiography A Way of Hope:

    Though we are caught in the vise of a fossilized system, a product of an outdated partition of our planet, in August 1980 we overthrew an all-powerful political taboo and proclaimed the dawning of a new era. The Polish nation achieved this as a force before the eyes of the world without threats, without violence or a drop of the opponents blood shed; no ideology was advanced, no economic or institutional theory: we were simply seeking human dignity. In both camps, free and unfree, this episode has been regarded as a revolutionary act. But we saw nothing revolutionary in what happened. We merely felt that after so many years of living upside down, we were at last beginning to walk on our feet (Walesa 1987: 2).

    Walesa and his co-workers' peaceful struggle in Solidarity is inspiring though one wishes that he and Solidarity should have continued this struggle now especially when Poland has made an uncritical turn to capitalism and European and American geopolitical interest. At the same time what he writes challenges us not to despair:

    I do my best to look on political events in the same light as my personal problems, and try to resolve them similarly. I never take a tragic view of life. Even if nothing in this world really depends upon us, that shouldn't excuse us from putting all our efforts in a dignified way, into finding the best possible solutions, and the most honest ones (ibid.: 3–4).

    The struggles of Gaura Devi and Lech Walesa resonate with the exemplary struggles of Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev and Thich Nhat Hanh. Aung San Suu Kyi is still struggling for freedom of her people in Burma where nothing has much changed even after the recent non-violent protest and martyrdom of many monks and people. But for me reading her Freedom from Fear nearly fifteen years ago was a deep experience which in a way had made me reflect upon the challenge of freedom politically and philosophically. My approach to freedom was also shaped by the exemplary struggle of Nelson Mandela whose Long Walk to Freedom was also an enriching experience to be with. Like Suu Kyi and Mandela almost around the same time Mikhail Gorbachev was and continues to be an inspiring presence. Two decades ago while doing graduate work in the States reading his Perestroika was a lesson in thinking and imagining beyond the settled. Gorbachev gave voice to millions of people struggling for freedom and in this struggle though he lost politically he has not forgotten his native spirit of festivity and cosmopolitanism. Gorbachev (2005: 9) tells us in his dialogue with Daisaku Ikeda Moral Lessons of Twentieth Century: ‘Probably the wisdom of life consists in being able to enjoy a festival, even when everything else looks dark.’ This native wisdom of Gorbachev finds a resonance in the native wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh, who, as a remarkable teacher of peace from a village in Vietnam, reminds people that when everything else looks dark, they cannot forget to take steps towards peace where peace is the way; as suggested by one of his many books, Peace is Every Step. In his recent The Art of Power Thich Nhat Hanh (2007: 1) invites us to explore another dimension of power which is in tune with the spirit of the book.

    Our society is founded on a very limited description of power, namely wealth, professional success, fear, physical strength, military might and political control. My dear friends, there is another kind of power: the power to be happy right in the present moment, freedom from addiction, fear, despair, discrimination, anger and ignorance. This power is the birth right of any human being, whether celebrated or unknown, rich or poor, strong or weak. Let us explore this extraordinary kind of power.

    I have not yet had the blessing to meet this remarkable teacher of humanity but during my journey I have had the blessing of fellowship of many of his co-walkers notably Helena Tagesson who is one of our contributors in this book.

    I now thank from the bottom of my heart to all those who have made this co-journey and blossoming possible. They are innumerable and one cannot thank these kind souls enough and one can only share one's silent gratitude. I thank Rev. Sunny George, then director of TMAM Orientation and Research Center, Kottayam, who so graciously offered to host us when at the last minute we had nowhere to go and to Professor Paul Appasamy, then director of Madras Institute of Development Studies, who so generously made some resources possible which facilitated our meeting. I also thank colleagues and staff at Appalachian Center, University of Kentucky; Department of International Relations, Aalborg University, Denmark; and Institute of Sociology, Albert Ludwig University, Germany where I have spent time as a visiting scholar and visiting professor in the last years which have contributed to the shaping of the book in our hands. I also thank each of our contributors for their generosity and patience. I especially thank Professor Johan Galtung, an inspiring teacher and tireless seeker of peace, for his foreword and Professor Chitta Ranjan Das, an exemplary experimenter in education and human creativity, for his afterword to the book.

    We most cordially invite you to join us in this journey and hope this work contributes to our ongoing evolutionary striving to transform power and freedom and create worlds of beauty and dignity.

    Baisakhi Day April, 2008 AnantaKumar GiriMadras Institute of Development Studies
    Gorbachev, Mikhail and DaisakuIkeda. 2005. Moral Lessons of The Twentieth Century: Gorbachev and Ikeda on Buddhism and Communism. London: I.B. Tauris.
    Hahn, Thich Nhat. 1991. Peace is Every Step: The Mindfulness of Everyday Life. NY: Bantam.
    Hahn, Thich Nhat. 2007. The Art of Power. NY: Harper Collins.
    Jacobsen, Rolf. 2001. The Roads Have Come to An End Now: Selected and Last Poems of Rolf Jacobsen. Washington DC: Copper Canyon Press.
    Smith, David. 2007. Moving Towards Emmaus: Hope in a Time of Uncertainty. London: SCPK.
    SriAurobindo. 1962 [1919]. The Ideal of Human Unity: War and Self-Determination. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
    Walesa, Lech. 1987. A Way of Hope: An Autobiography. NY: Herry Holt & Company.


    Some of the contributions of the book were published in two special issues on ‘Transforming Power and Freedom’ in the Asian Journal of Social Sciences, Volume 33 (1), 2005 and Volume 34 (1), 2006. I thank its editor Dr. Syed Farid Alatas for his encouragement and its publisher Brill for permission to print the following chapters:

    • Jan Nederveen Pieterse, ‘Metamorphoses of Power: From Coercion to Cooperation?’
    • Helena Tagesson, ‘A Yearning of the Heart: Spirituality and Politics’.
    • Fred R. Dallmayr, ‘A War Against the Turks? Erasmus on War and Peace’.
    • Ananta Kumar Giri, ‘Power and Self-Cultivation: Aesthetics, Development Ethics and the Calling of Poverty’.
    • John Clammer, ‘Beyond Power: Alternative Conceptions of Being and Reconstitution of Social Theory’.

    And also to:

    • S.N. Eisenstadt for contributing an extract from his much larger work on democracy and political theory, Political Theory in Search of the Political;
    • Fred R. Dallmayr whose contribution in the volume also forms part of his Peace Talks from University of Notre Dame Press;
    • Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, particularly its public relations officer, Mr. A.K. Sharma for helping with a copy of Mrinal Miri's article, ‘Gandhi and Empowerment,’ originally published in the Institute's IIAS Summer Hill Review;
    • Dietmar Mieth for his contrbution which also appeared in Towards a New Heaven and a New Earth: Essays in Honor of Elisabeth Schlusser Fiorenza, New York: Orbis Books, 2003;
    • Abdullahi Ahmed An-Naim for his contribution which is adapted from his essay in Ahmed An-Naim et al. (eds), Human Rights and Religious Values: An Uneasy Relationship? Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Erdmans, 1995.

    Introduction: Transforming Power and Freedom

    AnantaKumar Giri

    The entire tradition of political theory seems to agree on one basic principle: only ‘the one’ can rule, whether that one be conceived as the monarch, the state, the nation, the people, or the party. The three traditional forms of government that form the basis of ancient and modern political thought—monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy—reduce, from this perspective, to one single form. Aristocracy may be the rule of the few, but only in so far as these few are united in one single body or voice. Democracy, similarly, can be conceived as the rule of the many or all, but only insofar as they are unified as ‘the people’ or some such single subject. It should be clear, however, that this mandate of political thought that only the one can rule undermines and negates the concept of democracy. Democracy, along with aristocracy in this respect, is merely a façade because power is de facto monarchical.

    Hardt & Antonio Negri (2004: 328–329); emphases added.

    When my powers clash with the powers of another man they are reduced to nothing; and this is due to the fact the other is, as it were, another me—a creature belonging to the same species that I do and thus endowed with capacities and means that are essentially equal to my own.

    Hoffman (1996: 5).

    In human life, Suffering is the antitheses of Power, and it is also a more characteristic, and more fundamental element in Life than Power is. […] Suffering is the essence of Life, because it is the inevitable product of an unresolvable tension between a living creature's essential impulse to try to make itself into the center of the Universe and its essential dependence on the rest of creation and on the Absolute Reality on which all creatures live and move and have their being. On the other hand, human power, in all its forms is limited and, in the last resort, illusory. Therefore any attitude towards Life that idolizes human power is bound to be a wrong attitude towards Suffering and, in consequence, a wrong attitude towards Life itself.

    Toynbee (1956: 74).

    The prince has been the dominant archetypal model of being and becoming in modernity and despite the supposed beheading of the kings in the modern world, as Machiavelli (1981) and Antonio Gramsci (1957), among many others, tell us it is the values of the prince, namely his will to power, that guide us in the modern world rather than the values of an unconditional ethical obligation of the self to the other. Power, politics and empowerment have provided determinant frames of self-constitution and social emancipation in the modern world and they have provided the singular definition of freedom as well. Modernity has been characterized by the ascendancy of politics and a power-model of the human condition over all other modes of being and values of life such as those of virtue, shraddha (reverence and love) and tapashya (loving meditation for transformation). There, of course, has been a shift in the locus of power in the evolution of modern society. If earlier, power was embodied in the prince as an individual, in the course of history this locus has shifted to institutions and systems of society. But the institutionalization of power in the modern and late-modern world does not mean that it has ushered in more freedom for the subjects since in both the cases, i.e., in the case of the prince and in case of the modern prince—the modern institutionalized locus of power, not only Gramsci's political party—it is power as domination, or in Max Weber's phrase, ‘the ability to carry over will against the will of others,’ which has guided our thought, practice and conduct.

    In fact, the modernist preoccupation with politics and power has been accompanied by very little realization of transformation beyond the capture of power despite thinkers such as Gramsci challenging us: ‘An important part of the Modern Prince will have to be devoted to the question of intellectual and moral reform […]’ (Gramsci 1957: 139). Those savants in the modern world such as Erasmus who have provided us with an alternative challenge of being and becoming and who have urged us to strive for freedom and radical reflection without the capture of power and authority and through ‘faith in man’ have been totally sidetracked by other leaders in religion and politics whose main objective has been capture of power and through this to ensure human emancipation.1 It is the weltanschauung and the will-to-power of these leaders which is noticeable in all movements of emancipation in the modern world whether it is the movement of the liberals or the communists. But after one hundred and fifty years of experience and experiments with such power models of emancipation, freedom and the human condition, we are slowly realizing that capture of power is neither the end all or be all of life and it is certainly not a guarantee for the attainment of a dignified life and the establishment of a ‘good society.’ It is perhaps for this reason that commentators such as Anthony Giddens (1991) urge us to make a distinction between power politics and life politics where life politics is a politics of self-actualization and is concerned with the question: ‘how we should live our lives in emancipated social circumstances.’

    But even Giddens cannot explore the logic of self-actualization without the addendum of politics as is the case with another commentator such as Seyla Benhabib (1987) who cannot proceed even a step further in her meditation on norm and utopia without the adjective and the noun—political and politics, without the words such as ‘politics of fulfilment’ and ‘politics of self-transfiguration.’ This shows the hegemony of the power-model of the human condition and the prince's will to power in our current thought and practice. This hegemony of a power-perspective on the human condition has recently received a new lease of life from a contemporary master interlocutor such as Michel Foucault whose disciples assert that there is no escape from the circle of power and counter-power and any project of a ‘good life’ which is determined to put power in its place and strives to actualize an unconditional ethical obligation of the self to the other is doomed to failure to begin with. But in Foucault himself, we also find a realization of the limitation of power in ensuring human emancipation as he himself writes: ‘In fact, I have especially wanted to question politics—the questions I am trying to ask are not determined by a pre-established political outlook and do not tend to the realisation of some definite political project’ (Foucault 1984: 376). For Foucault,

    In short, it is a matter of starting out search of a different critical philosophy: a philosophy that does not determine the conditions and limits of a knowledge of the object, but the conditions and undefined possibilities of the subject's transformation (Foucault 2005: 526).

    In his posthumously published work, The Hermeneutics of the Subject, Foucault urges us to realize:

    The political, ethical, social, philosophical problem of our day is not try to liberate the individual from the state and its institutions but to liberate us both from the state and the type of individualisation linked to the state. We have to promote new forms of subjectivity […] (ibid.: 544).

    Our present book is concerned with the questions of rethinking and transforming power as a theme in itself and in the light of contemporary transformations in discourse and society. It is born out of a realization that interrogating the modernist faith in politics and power as sole guarantors of human well-being and freedom constitutes an epochal challenge before us in this new century and in our new millennium. It seeks to explore how we can transform power in the late-modern condition of the systematization and institutionalization of power. For example, one key question now is whether only either the route of individual asceticism or democratic transformation of institutions is enough to transform power or does it call for simultaneous work on self-transformation and structural transformation. The book also seeks to explore how we can rethink power and realize its transformative meaning. It seeks to explore the resources it can derive from many different sources—traditional philosophies, religions, spiritual movements, and alternative quests within modernity—in this task of rethinking and reconstruction. For example, when an interlocutor such as Hannah Arendt (quoted in Cohen and Arato 1992: 178) writes that to have power is ‘acting in concert, on the basis of making and keeping promises, mutually binding one another, covenanting,’ it provides us another mode of being vis-à-vis power—one of ‘power with’ rather than ‘power over.’ In the book, we shall have dialogues with such other conceptions of power, for example power as inner liberation as suggested in Dietmar Mieth's essay on Meiker Eckhart in the volume.

    But while exploring the transformative contours of power, the book does not propose a simple polarity between power and virtue, the prince and the sage, power as ‘evil’ and the goodness of wisdom and explores transformation in the context of the complex multidimensional reality and possibility of power. As Stellan Vinthagen echoes the spirit of nuanced transformative engagement with power on the part of many contributors in the volume, ‘power is many-faceted and […] even the will, body and the mind of the resistance fighter is not free from power.’ This points to our implication in a field of power. For Judith Butler, power shapes the formation of subjectivity: ‘Power not only acts on a subject but, in a transitive sense, enacts the subject into being’ (Butler 1997: 13).

    Though the indispensable force of power in the shaping of subjectivity in many conditions (which make Butler write: ‘No individual becomes a subject without first becoming subjected to or undergoing subjection’) cannot be summarily dismissed in the name of any apriori spiritual enthusiasm, at the same time it does not exhaust all the possibilities of the subject, including her transformational and transcendental dimension. Our implication in the field of power does not lead only to the double subjectivity that Butler talks about: our subjugated subjectivity and our emergent subjectivity shaped by power. Our implication in the field of power is also the very field for transforming the logic of power and working towards a transformational self and society where the goal is realizing what Dallmayr, building on Heidegger, calls a ‘power-free’ existence (cf. Dallmayr 2001). Butler's view of the subject even in her double subjectivity does not give enough attention to the transcendental dimension of the subject which while being subjugated by power still refuses to surrender and strives for transformation. But here instead of proceeding with a polarity between subjugated and transformative view of self and power, an acknowledgment of our complex implication in the field of power is an indispensable and helpful companion to our political and moral struggles to transform power. In this context the insights of Foucault can be brought transformationally together with insights of experimenters such as Erasmus, Eckhart, Gandhi and Subcommandate Marcos of Zapatista movement who challenge us to go beyond the trappings of power and counter-power.

    An important challenge here is also to transform power into what Antonio Negri (1991), building upon Spinoza, calls ‘constituent power’ in which it is freely constituted by the multitude. Constituent power is not ‘power over’ but ‘power with’ as ‘power over’ obstructs the unfoldment of potential of not only the dominated but also the dominating.2 The idea of the multitude is neither just the mass nor the people, it is a web of existence which is characterized by the simultaneous work of singularity as well as the emergent commonality among singularities self-awareness of one's common condition as well as the need for transformation. Constituent power is linked to ongoing democratic transformations of society in which the sovereign power which rules in the name of One is subjected to the power of the Multitude going beyond the polarity and dualism of the One and Many. As Michael Hardt writes about Negri's interpretation of the very significant transformative reconstitution of power in the hands of Spinoza:

    [For Spinoza] Democracy is to be the absolute, unlimited form of government, because in it the Supreme Power is fully constituted by the power of the multitude. Spinoza's democracy is to be animated by a constituent Power, a dynamic form of popular authority […] In effect democracy is a return to a plane of the Ethics: Power (potentia) does not exist in Spinoza's democracy except to the extent that it is a constituent Power completely and freely constituted by the power of the multitude […] If Ethics reduces the distinction and subordinates Power [Sovereign Power, for example] to power in the idealistic terms of its utopian vision, the Political Treatise poses the real tendency toward a future reduction of the distinction, when a democratic power would be completely constituted by the power of the multitude

    (Hardt 1991: xvi).

    But is this process of democratic transformation only political or it is at the same time a multidimensional work on self-transformation and collective transformation?3 As Ramashroy Roy poses this problem in a provocative way in his Beyond Ego's Domain: Being and Order in the Vedas:

    [Public order is threatened by the split between] man's concern for his own good and that for the good of others. But can this threat to the public order be mitigated, if not completely eliminated, by the installation of the Polis? […] For Aristotle, transcendence of self-interest is consequent upon participation in public affairs [but] the shortcomings associated with personal character cannot be expected to be rectified by the public realm, if it lacks necessary support from individuals reborn as citizens. To be reborn as a person who, rising above his self-interest, becomes attentive to and actively seeks to pursue collective good, is, then, to willingly accept a life dedicated to the cultivation of dharma.

    (Roy 1999: 5).

    For fuller democratic realization, Roy here points to the need for being reborn as persons and citizens and cultivating dharma which here can be understood as nurturing a mode of dutiful and compassionate engagement which helps self, society, the commons and cosmos to blossom. Negri's interpretation of constituent power lacks this simultaneous engagement with political and spiritual transformation of self, society and polity and the present book seeks to carry out such a connected inquiry, interrogation and transformation.

    As the book strives to transform power, it is also animated by a desire to transform freedom, here again as a theme in itself and in the light of contemporary transformations in discourse and society. The current discourse of freedom, like the discourse of power, is at a dead end. It is certainly nice to hear from a thinker such as Ernesto Laclau:

    We are today coming to terms with our own finitude and with the political possibility that it opens. This is the point from which the potentially liberatory discourses of our post-modern age have to start. We can perhaps say that we are at the end of emancipation and at the beginning of freedom (Laclau 1992: 137).

    But Laclau does not tell us how we can rethink freedom today and have an integral realization of it, a realization which transcends the familiar dichotomies in thinking about and striving towards freedom: economic and political, food and freedom, and political and spiritual. Our task of transformation is made enormously difficult by the fact that in the current euphoria about global democratization and civil society, we proceed with a narrow view of freedom, where we are primarily concerned with freedom from authoritarian structures and the individual's freedom of choice. The works of Isaiah Berlin (1958) and Amartya Sen (1999) as they make a distinction between negative freedom and positive freedom promises a step forward in the current impasse, especially out of the current libertarian capture of the calling of freedom but the promise of recovery even in this agenda is an illusory one as neither Berlin nor Sen tells us how we can transcend the dualism between negative and positive freedom. They are silent about the ontological and aesthetic preparation we need to have at the level of self and society so that the devotion to freedom becomes an integral one and the individual in her own life is able to ensure liberty for herself and at the same time becomes an agent of well-being in the life of others. Though Sen's challenge of linking food and freedom is important, the lack of ontological preparation in such rethinking of freedom is still a crucial gap for us to overcome.

    To put it succinctly, the current reflection on freedom again reflects the modernist preoccupation with power and political freedom and has not given enough attention to the challenge of spiritual freedom as an ideal and practice at the level of both self and society nor has it given enough attention to the aesthetic dimension of freedom. By having a view of freedom as a spiritual and aesthetic4 process of transformation and the agent of freedom as a transformative self, which begins with self-control of one's lower self and cultivation of one's higher self, we can go beyond good and evil, positive and negative. It is crucial here to realize that despite our use of words such as ‘lower’ and ‘higher’ which is a reflection of our inescapable human finitude, especially the finitude of language, lower and higher self here, as it is in many spiritual traditions of the world, do not point to a hierarchical fixation. Lower self, for example, is not the self which just wants to have sex, and higher self salvation meditating under the bush. Rather, lower self points to a self which is bound to itself, its ego understood in a narrow way, and with maximization of one's pleasure even when it involves slitting the throats and spilling the blood of others while the higher self points to a seeking for relationship5 and transformation transforming the quality of our desire no matter whether the desire is for flesh or for God.6 Transforming freedom is thus confronted with task of transformation of self from lower to higher (understood in a non-dual and non-hierarchical way) and embodiment of responsibility (cf. Levinas 1974; 1990). For instance, Sri Aurobindo (1962) argues that standards of conduct and the practice of freedom must be anchored in a spiritual plane where the goal of freedom is not only to have the freedom to choose but also to transform our needs and desire. A spiritual seeking also helps us to discover the emergent universal ground within us where the social distinction between individual and collective, negative and positive freedom gets a new frame of reference for criticism and transcendence even if it does not get out rightly dissolved.

    An aesthetic and spiritual engagement with freedom helps us transform our dominant conceptions of governmentality where self-governance becomes the foundation and model of governance. This is the spirit of Gandhi's striving for Swaraj and Foucault's later engagement with self-government. The key issue here is: for self-governance the very machinery and telos of governance has to be changed, rule in self-rule is not the same as we know in familiar machineries of rule. It calls for more persuasion and transformation rather than just repression and the application of force.7


    The book seeks to transform power and freedom by exploring contours of a new politics and spirituality emerging in our times which contribute to self-transformation, world transformation and cosmic transformation. The first part of the book, ‘Reconstituting Power and Freedom: Modernity and Beyond,’ begins with a foundational essay on the reconstitution of the political in modernity by S.N. Eisenstadt. For Eisenstadt, modernity began with an emphasis on autonomy of man and this new ontological conception not only led to the breakdown of traditional legitimation but loss of traditional markers of certainty. Social movements of various kinds played an important role in the reconstitution of the political in modernity. Social movements became bearers of utopian visions carrying the ‘roots of modern political program in the heterodox Gnostic traditions of medieval Europe.’ For Eisenstadt, ‘The Great Revolutions [of modernity] can indeed be seen as the first or at least the most dramatic, and most successful attempt in the history of mankind to implement on a macro-societal scale utopian visions with strong Gnostic components.’ Furthermore, ‘Such visions became closely connected with the second major component or orientation of the political programme of modernity—namely the recognition of the multiple interests and of multiple conceptions of the common good, slowly extending also to the realm of (religious) beliefs.’ But this reconstitution of the political in modernity along with the axes of pluralism had its limits in authoritarian regimes which ‘tended to espouse a very restricted, limited conception of citizenship and a highly regulated access of civil society to the state.’

    But in the very formative moment of European modernity there was a deep contestation of authoritarianism in religion and politics and striving for a new mode of relationship and Erasmus emdodied this. As Felix Wilfred writes in the second chapter of the book: ‘Erasmus positive vision of the humankind marked a significant departure from the medieval Christian tradition insisting on human sinfulness and frailty—a tendency Luther carried to the extreme. The modernity was a rejection of such a conception, which it replaced with a more trusting attitude in the human and its ability’.

    French Revolution was the paradigmatic act of breaking away from authoritarian foundationalism and in his contribution, ‘Political Symbolism: Or How to Stay on the Surface,’ historian and philosopher Frank R. Ankersmit helps us in understanding the significance of anti-foundationalism for the sake of continued political reconstitution and representative democracy. For Ankersmit, ‘The French Revolution was not such a decisive social and political caesura because it had discovered the absolutely sound foundation for a wholly new political order—it could only be such a revolutionary event, because it did away with the very notion of foundations in general […] Both French Revolution and representative democracy presuppose the rejection of political foundationalism.’ In this creative anti-foundational strivings, political symbolism plays an important role but for this politics should not be left reduced only to issues of management. Ankersmit makes a distinction between politicians and political managers and urges us to continue to nurture anti-foundational political symbolism especially at the contemporary juncture as politics is increasingly being reduced soleley to problems of management.

    But French Revolution was only a beginning in the direction of needed multidimensional transformation. While its slogans of equality and liberty became orthodoxies in the political movements of liberalism and socialism, fraternity is still crying in the streets around the world. Of course, today fraternity means both brotherhood and sisterhood, a part of what Binod Kumar Agarwala in his subsequent contribution on Kant calls belonging. Agarwala critically interrogates as well as interprets Kant in a novel way as concerned with the calling of belonging. For Agarwala, the ‘Kantian ruler is as absolute as the Hobbesian sovereign but Kant succeeds in evading this from the readers by claiming that the sovereign is not the head of the state’ ‘but a public law, act of a public will.’ But in his Critique of Judgment, Kant was fascinated with the calling of belonging to community where authority is based on ‘knowledge— knowledge as virtue, not power.’ For Agarwala, we can overcome this antinomy between power and liberty by belonging to nation and state. But given the complicity of both nation and state in a violent project of homogenization and exclusion, it is helpful to transform Agarwala's proposal into a community of virtues which also celebrates colours of pluralism.

    Agarwala's contribution points to the limits of power and liberty in modernity and the subsequent contribution of Philip Quarles van Ufford, ‘The Power of Modernity and the Tail of the Devil,’ explores these limits in a very foundational way in both the European home and outside the colonized world. In European home, modernity has asserted its power by banishing the devil from the world but Quarles van Ufford, taking cues from Goethe's Faust, urges us to realize that the devil has performed a disappearing act himself. In this context, for Quarles van Ufford, ‘..we may discern the tail of the devil in everyday life in the form of exaggerated forms of optimism and overly facile promises of social order.’ Violence becomes indispensable in such a project of abolition of evil and establishment of order, as Quarles van Ufford shows remarkably with examples of Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor and Arthur Koestler's party executioner. With colonialism this project of killing is let loose globally but the fire that burns other's homes finally comes back and engulfs the home of European modernity as well (see Uberoi 2002). With the help of Conrad's Heart of Darkness Quarles van Ufford shows us how this devastation comes home.

    In this context, a great challenge of dealing with power of modernity and modernistic power is confronting violence and coercion and the subsequent contributions of a philosopher and a sociologist are highly instructive. In her contribution, ‘Rethinking Power: Aesthetics, Dialogue, Hegemony,’ Kanchana Mahadevan discusses insightfully the seminal works of Hannah Arendt, Michel Foucault and Antonio Gramsci. For Mahadevan, ‘[…]violence is an indifference to the point of view of the other’ but building on Arendt, Mahadevan argues that power cannot be equated with violence. Rather, ‘Arendt's notion of power promises to be a constructive endeavour towards evolving new forms of solidarity.’ Mahadevan ties this notion of power as the ‘art of public dwelling’ from Arendt with conceptions of struggles building on Foucault, Habermas and Gramsci argues that ‘politics is the struggle for public discourse.’ But is this struggle only political? Doesn't it involve self-transformation and ethico-moral and spiritual transformation of societies? Giri explores the challenge of self-cultivation that power is confronted with in the third section of the book but before this sociologist and cultural theorist Jan Nederveen Pieterse presents us the empirically as well as normatively challenging issue of metamorphoses of power. One important aspect of metamorphoses of power in society and history is a very fragile shift from coercion to cooperation. Nederveen Pieterse challenges us to go beyond the reversals in contemporary real politik and to acknowledge both cooperation and coercion in the working and trajectories of power. Nederveen Pieterse discusses several trends towards a democratic and cooperative regulation of power over time, such as, among others:

    • Over time the exercise of power is increasingly normatively regulated. Political and military power generally since the era of the French Revolution and the ‘age of democratic revolution’ have been increasingly subject to constitutional and legal structures;
    • In most countries there is a shift from government to governance and towards interactive decision-making and decentralization in public administration.…

    But Nederveen Pieterse himself urges us to realize that this is by no means a generalized trend: ‘A countertrend is the growing global and domestic inequality and concentration of income and power at the top, which in the United States increasingly takes the form of plutocracy.’ For Nederveen Pieterse, ‘Nevertheless the empirical circumstances that underlie these trends—growing demographic densities, global interdependence and growing human capacities—are structurally significant. This makes greater cooperation likely.’

    But the likelihood of this realization is dependent upon varieties of transformative struggles and the part two of the book, Beyond the Modern Prince: Varieties of Struggles and New Intimations, presents some of these. It begins with Stellan Vinthagen's discussion of non-violent movements and the challenge of transformation of power. As has been already discussed, through exploring non-violent resistance Vinthagen goes beyond a simplistic view of power and resistance and urges us to understand their complex constitution as well as differentiation by presenting power as subordination and resistance as disobedience. Power as subordination is not totally subjection: it is dependent upon the wilful participation of those who are part of it, including their act and potential of disobedience. Power does not create subjects in automatic processes, but through the constant participation and modification by the very subjects themselves. For Vinthagen, ‘Power as subordination is integrally linked to resistance as disobedience. Thus, non-violent movements are significant examples of resistance to power as well as transformation of it.’ While explicating non-violent resistance with example from Gandhi, Vinthagen urges us to realize: that Gandhian non-violence ‘involves a simultaneous resistance against the oppressive system role of the counterpart and a cooperation with the same counterpart as a human being and part of a unity of humanity.’

    Vinthagen's explorations are followed by Bernard Adeney-Risakotta who in his essay, ‘Origins and Sources of Power: Indonesian Paradigms and Beyond,’ also discusses the issue of non-violent resistance to power. Beginning with a discussion of the issue of the similarity and differences between Javanese and Western approaches to power, Adeney-Risakotta also challenges us to understand the distinction between power and violence. Building on the non-violent struggles to overthrow the autocratic regime of Soeharto and other such movements in society and history, especially the non-violent struggle for freedom led by Gandhi, Adeney-Risakotta writes: ‘[…] the classic, almost universal paradigm of power as domination based on violence, generates more misunderstanding than clarity. Power is very diverse and distributed in different ways among the people. Power is not primarily the possession of a small elite but rather is located in the people. Power is the ability of the people to act together to achieve their aims. Powerlessness is the inability to initiate real change in human social reality.’ (We can relate this to Spinoza's constituent power that we discussed before). He also challenges us to understand that power is not just reducible to social immanence or social practice, there is a mystical dimension to the work of power as well as in the resistance towards its tyrannical and dictatorial manifestations in societies and histories.

    Adeney-Risakotta's reconstitution of power is carried forward to new height and depth in the subsequent contributions in the section. Sang-Jin Han describes democratic transformation in contemporary Korea in which ‘middling grassroots’ play an important role: ‘[…] the middling grassroots are those who are part of the middle class objectively, yet distinctive in that their identity as part of ‘people,’ not the ‘power-bloc.’ Jose Jowel Canuday helps us understand the creative potency of humans even in the most difficult situations of war and devastation. Canuday tells us how people caught in between armed conflicts in Mindanow, Philippines and subjected to evacuations ‘carry themselves with dignity as they struggle and initiate ways to survive and recover.’ The displaced people come back to their lands and villages and cultivate it. The issue of land is a crucial issue for people all over the world and in his contribution in this section Piet Strydom tells us about search for structures of cooperation in the land reform dispute in the post-apartheid South Africa. Mateo Mier y Terán G.C. tells us about the walking rebellion of the Zapatistas in Mexico which challenges the taken-for-granted foundations of economy, polity and society by striving for autonomy and radical democracy. At the core of this is a project to transform power in a foundational way through its principle of ‘commanding by obeying’ which has enkindled creative and radical imagination world-wide.8

    Commanding by obeying involves an aesthetic transformation of the modernist cult of mastery to an ethics and aesthetics of servanthood where we relate to each other not as masters but as servants (cf. Giri 2002; Ruskin 2004).9 In their contribution in this section, ‘Ecological Ontology and Landscapes of Democratic Struggle in Globalization Politics: Residual, Emergent and Transformative Dimensions,’ Herbert Reid and Betsy Taylor urge us to realize the significance of place and ecological ontology in our very constitution of self and the public, and in the work of democratic struggles and global justice movements. They urge us to understand how sensibility in creative social movements such as global justice movements ‘discloses ways in which place experience nestles both ecological and historical horizons that open towards what the late Raymond Williams called resources of hope.’10 Reid and Taylor present us a feast of ideas and practices for nurturing what they call body-place-commons and present forums such as World Social Forums as emergent global public spheres. They also invite us to walk together with thinkers such as John Dewey, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Raymond Williams in going beyond dualism and fighting against domination of capital and expert knowledge in our lives and the world at large.

    For Reid and Taylor, Williams and Dewey help us realize a ‘democratic professionalism’ which ‘cultivates a cultural memory of an experimental knowledge that hones itself in the living landscapes where participatory reason serves sustainable life.’ They both urge us to go beyond debilitating dualisms of many kinds and ‘cages of institutional cynicism and transnational elitism.’ An important part of the challenge of transforming power and freedom, for Reid and Taylor, is to nurture a participatory logic and to overcome the ‘logic of fungibility’ ‘which reduce beings to an assemblage of predefined traits.’ For Reid and Taylor, ‘Fundamentalism of all sorts operate by locking individuals to pre-given categories that are fetishized as immanent to their substantive being, rather than emergent from relational processes of co-creation between individual and matrix’ (Reid and Taylor 2006). Participatory logic helps us to ‘reclaim democratic politics’ from space-based logics of fungibility to place-based logics of democratic public inquiry': ‘Particpatory reason moves scientists from the laboratory into the field, moves citizens from media-spectatorship into place-based inquiry, moves pedagogy and professionalism from class-rooms into civic engagement and public debate, moves art from commodified fashionable reactions to risky and original encounters within history and life-world’ (ibid).

    Reid and Taylor especially present us many gifts from Dewey for transforming power and freedom such as what they call ‘an aesthetic ecology of public intelligence.’ Going beyond corporate power, elitism and various divides Dewey pleads for a vibrant democratic participation nurtured by an aesthetic ecology and an ecological ontology. Dewey also brings a new emergent dimension to the work of self and society which goes beyond conventional pragmatism: ‘[…] Dewey does not mean an Aristotelian notion of potentiality as the emergence of a fixed end which the individual actualizes. Rather, he means an emergent quality of co-creation between individual and world […]’

    In their essay, Reid and Taylor tell us of new global social movements for generating global commons and we are fortunate to have in our midst reflections from Helena Tagesson, a participant in one such movement, namely Attac (Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions for the Aid of Citizens), a movement for global justice. Tagesson shows us from example of her own participation in Attac how such movements embody a yearning of the heart for a new politics and spirituality. Tagesson also discusses the issue of disappointment in working with liberatory struggles and different possible ways of working with it. This resonates with Mateo's discussion of difficulties of social change in the communities in which Zapatista works.

    Contributions in the third section of the volume, ‘Transforming Power and Freedom: New Horizons,’ continue this exploration of new horizons of politics and spirituality in transforming power and freedom. It begins with the insightful contribution of Akop P. Nazaretyan on power and wisdom in the history of social behaviour. For Nazaretyan, ‘While weapon's killing power and people's concentration have been successfully growing for millennia, war victim's ratio has not.’ For Nazaretyan, this is a fragile suggestion of work of wisdom in history vis-à-vis the power to annihilate. Nazaretyan calls it ‘technohumanitarian balance’ which states that ‘the higher production and war technologies' power, the more refined the behaviour-regulation means that is required for self-preservation of society.’ This balance, like Nederveen Pieterse's discussion of metamorphoses of power, is tenuous and calls for continued work on inner liberation on the part of both self and society. Theologian Dietmar Mieth presents us glimpses of this calling of power and inner liberation from the inspiring life and works of mystic Meister Eckhart from Europe. With a radical interpretation of the meaning of Christ as well as the vocation of being a Christian, Eckhart challenges us to understand the power of inner liberation: ‘Christ reveals both the compassion of God as the inner structure of the world and solidarity as the inner structure of the human being.’ Eckhart's power of inner liberation was accompanied by continued striving for justice or ‘ardour for justice.’ Eckhart preached in the vernacular and was inspired by as well as supported the feminine spirituality of the Beguines: ‘The Beguines were free groups of women who, often following deaths of their husbands, in times of war or in times of surplus in general, or perhaps in times of a new emancipation of women, joined together to lead a simple religious life in poverty.’ Probably this feminine spirituality inspired Eckhart to envision each human being as a mother. For Eckhart we are continuously called upon to give birth to God at each moment of our lives.

    Eckhart's critique of power as domination and continued search for multidimensional inner liberation in self and society finds a parallel in the life and thoughts of Erasmus. Erasmus explored new dimensions of human and social transformation beyond the dominant logic of power. It is in this context, philosopher and transformative thinker Fred Dallmayr's subsequent contribution on Erasmus, ‘War Against the Turks? Erasmus on War and Peace,’ helps us address the challenge of war and peace as an integral part of transforming power and freedom (see Hardt and Negri 2004). Dallmayr begins his essay: ‘Today, democracy is joined by another fugitive: everywhere peace seems to be in retreat or on the defensive […] In such grim surroundings, Erasmus continues to offer inspiration and solace—a solace nurtured by his close familiarity with the perennial follies of humanity.’ For Erasmus, ‘we are betrayed by our lust for power.’ Machievelli, a contemporary of Erasmus, had described this lust for power in Prince and in his contribution Sapir Handelman challenges us to go beyond the prince and understand the crucial significance of leadership responsibility. For Handelman, holders of power have to embody responsibility especially in situations of intractable conflicts such as Israel and Palestine. But this calls for bathing in streams of wisdom and not only drinking from the cups of lust of power and in his subsequent contribution Christian Bartolf presents us gifts of wisdom from Tolstoy's last major work, A Calendar of Wisdom: Daily Thoughts to Nourish the Soul. Bartolf concludes with Etiene de la Boétie's seminal contribution, ‘Discourse on Voluntary Servitude’ in which la Boétie, a contemporary of Machievelli, had challenged us to first acknowledge our voluntary servitude11 and then strive to transform this. Boétie had written way back in 1548: ‘Obviously there is no need of fighting to overcome this single tyrant, for he is automatically defeated if the country refuses consent to its own enslavement’ (de la Boétie 1548: 22). This is also spirit of Gandhi's refusal in one's own enslavement though Gandhi here emphasizes the need for non-violent resistance. Gandhi also challenges us to go beyond the trappings of power as determined destiny. As Mrinal Miri interprets the Gandhian pathway in his subsequent contribution: ‘What we must strive for is not a tenuous, uneasy equilibrium of power, an equilibrium which is always on the brink of being upset. Gandhi's preferred word here is “fellowship”—fellowship between communities and individuals.’

    Gandhi speaks about fellowship beyond the logic of power and this finds a correspondence in our mutual implication as suggested in Robert Bernasconi's subsequent elaboration of Sartre's ontology of freedom as ‘None is free until all are free.’ Sartre ties freedom to responsibility. As Bernasconi tells us, ‘Freedom is ultimately for Sartre not freedom over other man or woman: the meaning of freedom for Sartre is responsibility, or, more specifically, it is for each of us my responsibility. My ontological freedom is responsibility for everything, except my responsibility itself, which is given.’ In his Notebooks for An Ethics, Sartre tells us: ‘..if one had a full intuition of one's own freedom, one would see it as requiring universal freedom and one would not be able to destroy the freedom of others.’ Mark Lindley discusses this calling of responsibility in an urgent field of our times namely our planetary ecology. He also discusses the challenge of rethinking freedom in the face of ecological crises.

    This mutual implication and imperative of responsibility is taken up in the subsequent contribution of Ananta Kumar Giri, ‘Power and Self-Cultivation: Aesthetics, Development Ethics and the Calling of Poverty,’ who joins the discussion of transformation of power and freedom by exploring the challenge of self-cultivation that confront both. In exploring the challenge of self-cultivation that the logic and holders of power face, Giri discusses the other Foucault who talks of care of self. Giri also explores several alternative traditions, namely the Indian tradition of sharing food, the European tradition of Bildung and the Confucian tradition of self-formation. Giri carries out this exploration of power and self-cultivation with specific reference to the field of development and discusses the issue of aesthetics, ethics and poverty, pleading for how all these transgress boundaries and call for a new politics and aesthetic ethics of sharing.

    Giri discusses the challenge of development ethics and poverty and the subsequent contribution of Thanh-Dam Truong explores this through a discussion of human security from a Buddhist perspective. Truong's explorations of security and peace and quest to ‘open the space for inter-paradigmatic learning’ resonates with the earlier contribution of Dallmayr. For Truong, ‘the human security project cannot succeed if based on neo-liberal individualism’; it calls for ‘the search for a communicative non-identitarian subject with a heart.’ Like Clammer's concluding reflections to follow, Truong challenges us to understand the connection between dualism and violence and the significance of non-dualism for transforming power and freedom. At the same time, Truong self-critically acknowledges that Buddhism does not offer a theory of social power and has not addressed the issues of social and gender hierarchies. Nevertheless its epistemology of connectedness and wisdom is crucial towards transforming power and freedom: ‘[…] One conceptual error, if not corrected, leads to imbalanced action, causing imbalanced responses leading to other conceptual errors, and the chains of error and imbalanced action continues. The will of mind (determination) in Buddhist thought is not geared towards power and control but towards understanding through meditative techniques to develop a wholesome mind. A wholesome mind is the key to the release of compassion and non-violence. In this regard, ontological security is not derived from the notion of fixed stable self (socially or morally defined). It is derived from the ethical ideal to perceive oneself in relation to others and as others.’

    If Truong presents us with a Buddhist perspective on human security, Abdullahi Ahmed An-Naim presents us an Islamic perspective on human rights. This is followed by the provocative essay, ‘Beyond Power: Alternative Conceptions of Being and the Reconstitution of Social Theory,’ by John Clammer who, building upon Buddhism as well as Gandhi, challenges us: ‘The key to understanding models of power/anti-power is a question of ontology. Anti-power that is simply a struggle against power can never succeed: what is necessary is to deconstruct the notion and necessity of power itself and the impoverished conception of humankind upon which power theories are based, one that suggests in fact that humans cannot act ethically or outside of a framework of pure interest.’ Clammer makes clear: ‘The issue here, as for Gandhi, is not the abnegation of power, but its transformation from a means of domination and mechanism of violence to a force for the positive remaking of human and natural life, the harnessing of the energy (in Japanese ki) that flows throughout the universe but which can be focused, concentrated and utilized for healing and never for destruction.’ This calls for personal revolution in self and science, along with structural transformation, a point stressed by Chitta Ranjan Das-a heart-touching critic and transformative experimenter of our times—in his Afterword. For Das, ‘[…] to be and not merely to know is the real thing, the real catalyser.’


    Clammer challenges us never to use power for destruction but for healing but in major traditions of thought and practice, power has been instrumentally used to inflict suffering on self, other and society. Much of this has been inflicted not only on humanity but also on the non-human world in the name of sovereignty: the cult of sovereignty which wants to control all in the name of the Sovereign One—the Lord, the Man, Self and the nation-state. In this context there is an epochal challenge now to transform sovereignty which is based upon bare life and violated bodies and souls into shared sovereignties animated by a multivalued logic of autonomy and interpenetration (cf. Agamben 1998; Giri 2005). Practice of shared sovereignties has the potential to help us overcome the violence of sovereignty which we see in intractable battles over ego and territories at the level of both self and nation-state. Shared sovereignty is facilitated by post-national transformations of nation-states and post-egotistic transformations at the level of self. This is also facilitated by the work of what Dallmayr (2005) calls ‘sacred non-sovereignty’ where a sovereign self or society is not preoccupied with power and mastery but with an ethics and spirituality of servanthood. This transforms the Prince in religion, politics and now in many domains of our lives into little princes and princesses where we are able to laugh at those who just want to sit on the thrones and those who spend their whole life in counting coins.12 Practice of shared sovereignty and ‘sacred non-sovereignty’ also transform our Gods into small gods helping us co-walk in the evolutionary tryst of this fragile cosmos of ours.

    Shared sovereignty and sacred non-sovereignty call for shared suffering for realization of our potential—self as well as collective, societal as well as cosmic.13 But apart from democratic transformation this also calls for the need to undertake suffering on the part of the self to touch the heart and soul of the other including that of sovereign power. Transforming power and freedom thus calls for preparation to undertake and embody suffering as a mode of being and relationship including political struggle which is neither sadistic nor masochistic but a participation in the joys of transformation and for building a collective and ontological foundation of dignity and for multidimensional human, societal and cosmic flourishing.

    Undertaking suffering here is an act of love as exemplified in the life of martyrs14 in visions and history from Antigone to Ken Saro-Wiwa to Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha,15 Socrates to Gandhi but love here is neither a reduction of the self and other but discovery of each other's mystery. Transforming power and freedom thus brings us back as well as forward to our originary and ever-present constitutive poetics and politics of love. It is no wonder then that two critical thinkers of our times conclude their fascinating political treatises on our times with love. Write Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri in their Multitude: ‘The new movements demanding global democracy not only value the singularity of each as a fundamental organizing principle but they also pose it as a process of self-transformation, hybridisation, and miscegenation. The multiplicity of the multitude is not just a matter of being different but also becoming different. Become different than you are! These singularities act in common and thus form a new race, that is, a politically coordinated subjectivity that the multitude produces. The primary decision made by the multitude is really the decision to create a new race or, rather, a new humanity. When love is conceived politically, then, the creation of a new humanity is the ultimate act of love’ (Hardt and Negri 2004: 358).

    But the creation of a new humanity is not only a matter of ‘biopolitical production’ as Hardt and Negri would suggest but also of spiritual generation. Transforming power and freedom through the poetics and politics of love challenges us to overcome modernist primacy of both the productive and the political and be engaged with love and politics in infinitely generative ways beginning with love as a mystery of communion rather than just production. As Luc Irigaray (2002: 115–117) would challenge us:

    Carnal sharing becomes then a spiritual path, a poetic and also a mystical path […] Love takes place in the opening to self that is the place of welcoming the transcendence of the other. […] The path of such an accomplishment of the flesh does not correspond to a solipsistic dream […] nor to a fin-de-siecle utopia, but to a new stage to be realized by humanity. […] Nature is then no longer subdued but it is adapted, in its rhythms and necessities, to the path of its becoming, of its growth.16 Caressing loses the sense of capturing, bewitching, appropriating […] The caress becomes a means of growing together toward a human maturity that is not confused with an intellectual competence, with the possession of property […] nor with the domination of the world..


    1. Here we can think of Martin Luther who after the success of his Protestant revolt sided with the kings in suppressing the peasant revolts in Germany. He even did not mind sending one of his co-Protestant fighters, Thomas Munster, to the gallows for supporting the peasant revolt. See Chitta Ranjan Das' (1989) essay on Luther and Erasmus. Also see Chapter 2, by Felix Wilfred, in the present volume.

    2. As Arne Naess (1999: 49) interprets Spinoza (ibid.: 48), ‘Power over others tends in the direction of limiting others' right to unfold their nature.’ According to Spinoza, ‘The more we unfold the manifold (or many-side) of our nature, the more we are in ourselves (in suo esse), and the higher degree of freedom we achieve. This kind of development is experienced by joy, one's world is colored by joy, or more precisely is more joyful.’

    3. Spinoza calls for a simultaneous spiritual and political transformation. In his unpublished theses on Spinoza submitted to Visvabbharati, Shantiniketan, India in 1948, Chitta Ranjan Das explores both the spiritual and political dimensions of Spinoza's work and struggles. Fortunately this insightful work has just come out after sixty years as Benedict-Spinoza: An Appreciation from Shipra Publications, Delhi.

    4. Here the following lines of Frederik Schiller are significant: Es die schoonheit ist durch, welche Man zu der Freihieit (It is beauty through which man makes his way to freedom).

    5. It is helpful here to read the following fascinating interpretation of Freud that Reisner (2003: 234) presents, ‘[In his fourth chapter of Beyond the Pleas ure Principle, Freud talks about binding and unbinding]. We can take binding and unbinding as a dynamic way of describing the transformation of id into ego. This is an internal acquiring of culture, the development of the civilization of the self. Binding is achieving a certain internal form, putting drives into coherent patterns, making them accessible and controllable. Fastening the neurobiological to the psychological and, ultimately, to the ethical dimension of existence, Freud addresses himself to dreams and says that we return to the unbound in order to bind; it is for this purpose that we obsessively, fanatically return to the area of the unbound. In one of his last works, An Outline of Psychoanalysis, Freud returns to the question of binding and unbinding on a metapsychological scale. Then on, he finds desire to be the final binding force, the aim of Eros to ‘establish ever greater unities and preserve them … to bind together. The same essay finds that “destructive instincts” work to undo connections and so to destroy things.’

    6. It is interesting here to remember solitary points of illuminations of scholars such as Claus Offe (1991), himself a political sociologist, challenging us to realize that democracy confronts us with the challenge of distinguishing between our ‘more desirable desire’ and ‘less desirable desire’.

    7. As Foucault (2005: 544) writes: ‘It is not a matter of governing oneself as one governs others, seeking models in military command or the domination of slaves, but when I have to govern others, I can only do so on the model of the first, only decisive, essential, and effective government: the government of myself.’

    8. As Subcommandante Marcos (1996: 69) tells us: ‘We thought that we needed to reformulate the question of power. We will not repeat the formula that to change the world you need to seize power, and once in power you will organize it the way it is the best for the world, that is, what is the best for me because I am in power. We thought that if we conceived a change in the premise of the question of power, arguing that we did not want to take it, this would produce a different form of politics, another kind of politicians, other human beings who could make politics very different to the one practised by the politicians we suffer today along the whole political spectrum.’

    9. Consider here what John Ruskin (2004: 17) wrote more than a century ago: ‘I know not if a day is ever to come when the nature of right freedom will be understood, and when men will see that to obey another man, to labour for him, yield reverence to him or to his place, is not slavery.’

    10. This nurturance of hope finds a resonance in the works of creative pioneers such as M.S. Swaminathan who also talks about ‘ecology of hope’. Swaminathan strives towards a generation of ‘eco-technology’ which ‘involves the integration of the best of traditional local community knowledge with frontier science and technology like renewable energy’ (cf Swaminathan and Ikeda 2005: 62). He also talks about the need to cultivate spiritual globalization as part of an ecology of hope:

    The movement towards multilateralism and globalization must be not merely economic, but also spiritual. What we need most is spiritual globalization […] By spiritual globalization, I do not mean that every one should belong to the same religion. I am speaking of building security in the wider sense of human dignity and gender equity. (Swaminathan and Ikeda 2005: 135).

    11. What de la Boétie (1548: 7) writes deserves our careful consideration: ‘But

    o Good Lord! What strange phenomenon is this? What name shall we give to it?.… To see an endless multitude of people not merely obeying, but driven to servility? Not ruled, but tyrannized over? These wretches have no wealth, no kin, nor wife nor children, not even life itself they can call their own. They suffer plundering, wantonness, cruelty, not from an army, not from a barbarian horde, but from a single man.… Too frequently this same little man is the most cowardly and effeminate in the nation, a stranger to the power of battle and hesitant on the sands of tournament; not only without energy to direct men by force but with hardly enough virility to bed with a common woman!’ He concludes his treatise as: ‘There is nothing so contrary to a generous and loving God as dictatorship’ (ibid.: 22).

    12. We can hear recall the heart-touching journey of the little prince in Antoine de Saint Exupery's Little Prince. But we have to co-walk in this journey as both little princes and princesses. A foundational question to this project of ours on Modern Prince and Modern Sage was raised by Yale Handelman, a singer and dreamer of life, and wife of Sapir Handleman, a contributor in the present volume. During a conversation in Freiburg, Germany, Yale asked like a little princess of de Saint Exupery: ‘What about the modern princess?’ I agree with her that in our book we could have done more on recording the contribution of women's movement in transforming power and freedom, and the significance of creative feminine politics and spirituality. But at the same time, we have to ask whether the feminist movement embodied values of the Princess and her will-to-power, and whether this needs to be now transformed into a simultaneous will for dignity and solidarity.

    13. For realizing the significance for potential, especially my existence in the context of yours, my and our potentiality, note the following thoughts of a Nobel prize winning novelist and a philosopher. Writes Imre Kertesz (2002: 12) in his novel, A Kaddish for a Child Not Born: ‘Yes, my existence in the context of your potentiality.… Now I no longer have doubts—it is in the clouds where I make my bed. And this question—my life in the context of the potentiality of your existence—proved to be a good guide.’ And writes philosopher Georgio Agamben (1993: 44) in his Coming Community: ‘The recognition of evil is older and more original than any blameworthy act, it rests solely on the fact that, being and having to be only its possibility or potentiality, humankind fails itself in a certain sense and has to appropriate this failing—it has to exist as potentiality. [The only ethical experience is] the experience of being (one's own potentiality). The only evil consists, in stead, in the decision to remain in a deficit of existence, to appropriate the power to not-be as a substance and a foundation beyond existence; or rather (and this is the destiny of morality), to regard potentiality itself, which is the most proper mode of human existence as a fault that must always be repressed.’

    14. Here J.P.S. Uberoi's thoughts about the loving self-sacrifice of the martyrs of the world are noteworthy. For Uberoi (1996: 130), the elementary structure of martyrdom is ‘manifestly the non-dualism of loving self-sacrifice … but equally it is the responsibility of “arising to bear witness” on the duality of the true and false, religion and irreligion, liberation and bondage.’ Fur thermore, ‘The martyr is one who must love his enemy in some sense since he or she is the perfect witness (saheed-ul-kamil) that God, who at this time takes an interest in history and politics, does not want his servant to sup pose, as the dualist would, that Satanism has any true independent existence, and so dharmayudhya, the righteous war, can be transformed into satyagraha’ (ibid.: 124). What Uberoi (ibid.: 88) writes about Antigone, the first martyr of the world, deserves our careful attention as it is linked with the project of martyrdom in both Gandhism and Sikhism: ‘I think that perhaps the world's first martyr of truth and non-violence was a Greek, Antigone, a European and a woman, best known to us as depicted by Sophocles, c.500 BC Antigone, who preceded both Socrates and Jesus, wanted the integration of religion and society to be upheld by her freedom of conscience and immemorial usage, the custom of civil society, while Creon, the King, wished his reasons of state to be separate from, and to override, both religion and society. I will not attempt to decide which of the two points of view is modern for Europe, but it is Antigone's that is closest to Sikhism and Indian modernity. She had established the truth that no power on earth can make the self do anything against its nature, except indirectly confer martyrdom on it, which is also the basis of Gandhism in politics.’

    15. Ken Saro-Wiwa is the martyr from the Ogoni tribe of Nigeria who was exe cuted on false charges for his struggle against the multinational Shell and the dictatorship of the Nigerian nation-state (see Saro-Wiwa 1995). The martyrdom of Shankar Guha Niyogi, the founder of the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha (CMM), fighting for the dignity of workers and people, is also exemplary here. Niyogi was gunned down by hired goons of the indus trialists while he was asleep. What is striking is that even now in the face of murder and much violence, the CMM continues on the path of non-violent struggle. As Chandhoke (2003: 206) writes: ‘Despite the fact that [the] CMM used only non-violent means of protest, such as peaceful demonstrations, dharnas, strikes, morchas and petitions—all of which are permissible in civil society—their protests were savagely put down. During a conversation with one of the CMM's leaders, I wondered whether it was not legitimate to use violence in a society where the regime virtually used violence against its own people. His answer was an emphatic no; violence, he argued, would impoverish the movement and denude it of any spirit of commitment.’

    16. Such a transformational relationship with Nature is crucially significant as much of modernist emancipatory politics, including the so-called post-modern emancipatory project of Hardt and Negri under the rubric of ‘biopolitical production’, does not involve a foundational interrogation and transformation of anthropocentrism. Though we have not been able to engage ourselves fully with this issue in the present volume, overcoming and transcending anthropocentrism is an important part of the political and spiritual struggle to transform power and freedom.

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  • Afterword

    ChittaRanjan Das

    It has been said that in the beginning whenever people of importance spoke or wrote about society, it was chiefly social philosophy, not sociology. The latter came to be in vogue much later and it came as a science. Inspirationally, it derived itself from the very conspicuous patterns of the so-called exact sciences. The physiocrats claimed that you can study society as exactly as physics and chemistry, and thus draw more certain conclusions. It has been pointed out that the expression ‘social sciences’ is found in a letter written by Josef Garat to Condorcet who adopted it in one of his works. It was then taken up by Auguste Comte and from him was handed down to the scholars of the twentieth century. Comte, it seems, was keenly given to the belief that ‘it is possible to establish, with the help of science, the one and the only “correct” constitution, which will rapidly impose itself on all peoples, transcending national differences.’ And, ‘in the end, humanity will constitute a single society. The task of positivism, the only truly universal doctrine, is to help men progress along this path.’ To supplement this statement, we may do well to recall the following from one of Comte's illustrated contemporaries, Henri de Saint-Simon: ‘To colonize the world with the European race, superior to every other human race, to make the world accessible and habitable like Europe, such is the sort of enterprise by which the European parliament should continually keep Europe active and healthy.’ Nevertheless, the incorporation of a scientific vein into man's interest to look into society was definitely a welcome—great—step forward.

    And all along, there has been also non-conformity side by side with conformity. Though many times more people have conformed, there have always been those who have not succumbed to the obligations; they have thought differently, with longer tethers, and disturbed the accepted harmonies. More often than not, a few of these have also acted differently and have suffered in the hands of the existing hegemonies. New ideas have been brewed, new dimensions in thinking, and daring new values, opening up new horizons and vistas, and new indications and emphases; even new religions, movements and revolutions. These have been suppressed by the powers-that-be but the ferments have done their job and, to that extent, have served their purpose. All this has also contributed very substantially towards the growth of science and what has been called a scientific attitude. More and more people have been involved, values have changed, and there has steadily been a growing consensus all over the world to be willing to include more and yet more people in whatever have been taken as universal mappings and undertakings. Thanks, then, both to non-conformists and conformists; we of this world have become less shy of one another and more receptive; there has been a more sumptuous give-and-take. The process has always continued, whether all of us were conscious of it or not. We are growing and being drawn nearer to one another in spite of the despots; yes, really in spite of. The non-conformists have been examples of dissent, the ones who have differed, gone against the wind and, of course, against the establishments. Differing, they have helped immensely, always, in the unfolding of newer insights, unfolding and expanding and challenging all the various varieties of encapsulation.

    The seats of concentrated learning in Europe started in the monasteries of yore. They were meant mainly for the initiates and catered almost exclusively to the theological preferences of the sects that ran them. They were, by necessity as it were, islands and the so-called fraternities. If we insist on naming them as universities, then our modern universities are, with greater justification, multiversities, willingly grown up into edifices having many mansions. Their very first calling is the opening-up of more and more windows. Sociology as a study of social life by its very inception, is recognizedly a part of university academics, though it can never afford to remain so in the traditional connotations. The whole world ought to be its field and it should always take care never to close itself into a fraternity. A student of society can never be rigidly a specialist in the hackneyed meaning of the term. In the words of Alfred Korzybski (1994: 427), ‘To affect the organism-as-a-whole, organism-as-a-whole methods must be adopted.’ Korzybski has also suggested as what he (ibid.: 310) calls ‘many-valued logic.’

    Methods, in whatever we study, pertains to what has come now to be known as methodology. But the importance of following a methodology should not tempt us to what may be a methodolatry. Methods are useful but they are not sacrosanct. According to Viktor Frankl, the logotherapist, science degenerates to scientism if we are almost morbidly keen about prescribed methods. In the same way, Frankl seems to warn us about psychologism, sociologism and the like. Thus, when one happens to become over-serious about methods, one does run the risk of deviating into grim sociologism. Then methods become frontal and conspire to take us away from our real footings. In the academic echelons, one's earnestness about a theme is sometimes assessed by what methods he uses. In the social sciences also, some people give greater importance to the methods employed than the theme or themes being actually dealt with. And a scientific methodology is even at times taken for having greater importance than a scientific attitude.

    Once upon a time, during the Middle Ages, the geometrical method was the approved criterion. The vogue has changed in several ways till date, fortunately. Yet, some still continue to believe that only the scientific method can lead us to certainty. It is alleged that Martin Luther of the Protestant movement was greatly disturbed about Erasmus of Rotterdam because, to him, the latter was so uncertain. He (Liebrecht 1959: 204) protested once saying: ‘What is more like accursedness and damnation than uncertainty, and what is more blessed than certainty?’ As an antidote and decidedly more appropriate to the state of the world today, would be what Krishnamurty (Krishnamurty Foundation 1992) of India has observed, ‘If you start with certainty, you end up with uncertainty.’ The world is so one-dimensional and unbending today because people, especially those who are obsessed about their own fond idiosyncrasies and the methods accruing from them, would never agree to give way to other approaches and other primaries. Such people in the academics tend to take cover under a constructed understanding of unity, as India's Sri Aurobindo would characterize it. Instead, he would suggest a more wholesome way to decipher and go by a diversity in unity. The Unity is one and it has to be sought after in diverse ways. They may seem to be contrary to one another but they are complementary. This is the right scientific method and it will give us the real insights.

    The foregoing introductory asides are in way of a context upon which I shall now pass on to the papers included in the collection and do some loud thinking. Quite a number of essays have followed the more familiar methods, yet some others are exceptions in an enlightening manner. A few are studded with quotations. It is, of course, not at all a crime to corroborate with supporting quotations a point one wants to emphasize upon; yet, beyond a certain frequency, it may also seem that a writer is not fully sure about what he wants to say and hence thinks he can appear more convincing to the prospective readers by re-enforcing himself with quotations. One has but to remember that on occasions as these, one has to be parsimonious enough because one cannot usually, without risk, just pick up a few lines from another source which is basically a part of another whole frame of reference.

    As one goes through the essays one by one, in no time one forgets what one may call a lacuna in the compilation, and really wonders at the catholicity with which the editor planned to choose and use the individual papers. At first sight, they may seem to smack of like square pegs put together in a round hole; yet, before long one does come to realize that there are all-through hidden connections, the sure relevances, and you feel you are really on the side of the editor. So much variety and yet so reasonably threaded together as a uniting gestalt. The fields do vary, the perspectives disturb all your established notions of hypothetical foundations; nevertheless, you are drawn nearer and nearer, as it were, and are soon ready to look at things differently. And after that, almost each presentation begins to make you realize the entire scope of the study of society come of age; nay, the entire gamut of human seekings come of age.

    In addition to the mainstream essays, that is, essays that one would generally expect in a compilation like this, we have exceptions like contributions on Erasmus, Meister Eckhart, Gandhi and the Zapatismo of Mexico. Erasmus of the sixteenth century wanted to convince his contemporary rulers how foolish and devastating it was for people when the kingdoms dabbled in warfare. Through his writings, he was in several ways on the side of the conscience of Europe when Martin Luther was all thunder with his new movement about the worship of God. The language of the former's protest was satire and deep wisdom as is so imaginatively brought out in his Morie Encomium. Meister Eckhart (1260–1328), in his time occupying a very high post in the papal empire, incurred the displeasure of the hegemony because he delivered his sermons in the vernacular as well as disrespected the sacred tradition by ‘educating the uneducated’. Eckhart had submitted, explaining his position: ‘If one does not speak to the uneducated about learned things, no one would ever become educated.’ He was also condemned for what was described by the authorities as ‘his ardour for justice’. May we say that he was brought to book for having taken the message of Christ in earnest and this was, perhaps, what worried the functionaries in the Christian institutions. Eckhart once described Christ as ‘the Social in the Human Being’.

    The story of all real sociology is one of breaking open the boundaries. The discipline was originally bound strictly to its specific lines and limitations and it is great that transgressions have been happening all the time. It is becoming increasingly clearer that society and people matter more than the study of society. The older definitions and contours are fast changing and there are more and more people who are less shy and hence willing to transgress the boundaries. More mature days are in the offing and the recluses so far working in the laboratories are becoming more courageous. Yes, courage, more than anything else, always helps us ask questions and rewrite our canons of inquiry. Intellectuals are rethinking and, as it were, from within; they are more ready to revise their roles. Albert Camus had once made a remark that the intellectual's role will be to say that the king is naked when he is and not to go into raptures over his imaginary trappings. And look, all around now there are hegemonies, kings all round who are visibly naked! The intellectual's laboratory has now to come down in proximity to people where they really are, move and have their beings, and suffer all the time waiting for an appropriate remedy. The academics could not as a rule do that. Shri Ramakrishna of India had once observed that ‘Some people climb the seven floors of a building and cannot get down.’ But some can, he did hope, really climb and then come down. They are always of greater worth.

    Universities, as they happen to function as a model now, are a Western development, and their counterparts, as they have come gradually to be structured in the East, are more or less imitations. To substantially serve humankind today they ought to transform themselves into multiversities, in the fullest meaning of the term. And this multiversity now is the entire globe and the entire humankind. Bacon once ushered in a new stance in Western thought when he said that knowledge is power. No doubt knowledge is power even now, and is valid for the whole of us as regional expressions of humankind. But power for what? Power, so derived from knowledge and yet more knowledge, has become arrogant in the long run. It has fallen into the hands of the wrong persons: state power, money power, military power, power of the many shades of vested interest, agencies of exploitation and the like. There is so much of deprivation, indifference, parochial pursuits of the ego and of the local. The realm of the social sciences have mostly been won over and tamed by those in power. To come back to Erasmus again, learning must always go together with piety—eruditio must create more occasions for pietas.

    Benedict Spinoza has spoken about potestas and potentia—words that in Latin mean power. They are different in their import because they point out to different connotations. The former is functionally the urge to possess by bossing it over others, and the latter reminds us about the potentials inherent in every human being, the many possibilities of flowering up and unfolding, if freedom is the climate in which it develops. According to Spinoza, love is the mediating link between knowledge and power. Love of humanity, love of the world, a deep faith in the unending possibilities of individuals as well as the collectives. This calls for a higher consciousness that all knowledge should congenially aim at. To Sri Aurobindo, a higher consciousness, as a rule, has to prove itself in the world. It never runs away and can afford to prove itself to be an asset of the world.

    But the changeover is not that easy as the wonderful words and references may suggest. There will be many-a-restraint, obstacles and oppositions, both from without and within. Hence, those who have chosen love have been men of protest. The world as it is will always be ready to put hurdles on the way of those who have opted for a world as it might be. The world changers, therefore, have faced persecution all the way. Yet, they have continued undeterred. In a world of obedience and servitude of so many shades, they have gone against the stream. In this context the work of Etienne de la Boétie (1530–62) of France is quite significant. He was a contemporary of Machiavelli and preceded Martin Luther by only a few years. The span of his life was only thirty-two years and he wrote his magnum opus Psychology of Obedience: A Treatise on Voluntary Servitude when he was studying at the university and was only eighteen. The mode of protest, he discusses as remedies, has a great relevance in our day. de la Boétie's critics have even drawn a linking line right from him to Tolstoy and Gandhi, and we can, if we want, trace him in the current movements of struggling human groups when these rise in protest against establishments all over.

    And, now, a couple of things in peroration. As has become so very actual now, each discipline has appreciably developed a vocabulary of its own; and scholars, in whatever they produce, have now to put them down in a singularly specific garb. It has, of course, an advantage of its own and the vicars would wish that it should be so. The fraternities are also happier and more at home within the structural isolations. Yet, having the social sciences as our area, our aim is to percolate and reach people as wide and yet wider as possible. This becomes even more urgent if our real intention is a renovation and a change in the vantage points. To make more and more people involved in whatever we intend to offer, they must understand the language we use in our presentations. It seems that those among the very reputed who were aware that the foremost thing was to keep on a dialogue and make more and more people concerned, have shown no scruples in using a non-technical language. We have in mind the examples of C. Wright Mills, Erich Fromm, Abraham Maslow and Viktor Frankl. One wishes that more papers in the compilation were able to do that.

    The next point is: all revolution and paradigmatic departures should be accompanied by a personal revolution also. Because to be and not merely to know is the real thing, the real catalyzer, as Sri Aurobindo would say. Brilliant scholars with the brilliance of giants and with no effort to live what one professes intellectually are the ‘sanyasins of the intellect’, as he has described them. These brilliant sanyasins suffer in spite of all the glory they have earned for themselves, by clinging to the idols of the caves. The light that they have been instrumental in disseminating for the sake of the world, this home of ours, ought to help us stand erect and fight the darkness around here. Only a personal revolution would give us real backbones. Jnana, knowledge, becomes real and mature only when it is translated to karma, that is, action, both individual and corporate.

    I congratulate the editor and the contributors for having brought out such a worthy compilation. It does have a liberating effect and is sure to disturb the many grooves that scholarly enthusiasms have usually constructed for the traditional stalwarts.

    Korzybski, Alfred. 1994. Science and Sanity. Engelwood, NJ: Institute of General Semantics.
    KrishnamurtyFoundation. 1992. The Last Talks. India: Krishnamurty Foundation.
    Liebrecht, Walter (ed.). 1959. Religion and Culture. New York: Harper.

    About the Editor and Contributors

    The Editor

    Ananta Kumar Giri is currently on the faculty of Madras Institute of Developent Studies, Chennai, India and has worked and taught in many universities in India and abroad including Free University, Amsterdam, University of Kentucky, Aalborg University, Denmark and Albert Ludwigs Universität, Freiburg, Germany where he was a Humboldt Fellow (2006–2007). He has an abiding interest in social movements and cultural change, criticism, creativity and contemporary dialectics of transformations, theories of self, culture and society, and ethics in management and development. Dr Giri has written more than a dozen books in Oriya and English. Among his previous books are: Global Transformations: Postmodernity and Beyond (1998), Sameekhya o Purodrusti [Criticism and the Vision of the Future, 1999], Conversations and Transformations: Toward a New Ethics of Self and Society (2002); Building in the Margins of Shacks: The Vision and Projects of Habitat for Humanity (2002); Reflections and Mobilizations: Dialogues with Movements and Voluntary Organizations (2004); Self-development and Social Transformations? The Vision and Practice of the Self-study Mobilization of Swadhyaya (2008); Mochi o Darshanika [The Cobbler and the Philosopher, 2009] Rethinking Social Transformation: Criticism and Creativity at the Turn of the Millennium (editor, 2001); A Moral Critique of Development: In Search of Global Responsibilities (co-editor, 2003); Creative Social Research: Rethinking Theories and Methods (editor, 2004) and Religion of Development, Development of Religion (co-editor, 2004).

    Address: Dr Ananta Kumar Giri, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Adyar, Chennai-600020, India.


    The Contributors

    Binod Kumar Agarwala is Professor of Philosophy at North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong, India. Prior to this, he had been teaching for more than two decades at Lucknow University, Lucknow. He is actively engaged in research in critical philosophy of Kant while political philosophy and philosophical hermeneutics are also his major areas of interest. He has published widely in reputed journals such as Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research, Sandhân, and Indian Philosophical Quarterly.

    Address: Department of Philosophy, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong, India.

    Abdullahi Ahmed An-Naim is a Professor at Emory Law School, Atlanta, GA, USA. He is the author of African Constitutionalism and the Role of Islam (2006); Toward an Islamic Reformation: Civil Liberties, Human Rights and International Law and editor of Human Rights in Cross-cultural Perspectives: Quest for Consensus (1992); Islamic Family Law in a Changing World: A Global Resource Books (2002). He has also published articles and chapters on human rights, constitutionalism, Islamic law and politics. An-Naim directed three major projects from Emory Law School: one on women access to, and control over, land in seven African countries (, the second, a global study of the theory and practice of Islamic Family Law ( and the third, a fellowship programme in Islam and Human Rights ( His current project is a book manuscript, The Future: Secularism from an Islamic Perspective (

    Address: School of Law, Emory University, 1301 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.

    Bernard Adeney-Risakotta was born in China of English and American parents. Bernard finished high school in Taiwan and completed his B.A. from University of Wisconsin in Asian Studies and Literature. His second degree, a B.D. (Hons.) is from University of London, specializing in Asian Religions and Ethics. His Ph.D. is from the Graduate Theological Union in cooperation with UC Berkeley, in Religion and Society. From 1982 until 1991 he taught at the GTU. Since 1991 he has lived in Indonesia, teaching at several universities, including Duta Wacana Christian University, Gadjah Mada University and the State Islamic University. Currently, he is Director of a cooperative, inter-religious doctoral programme in religious studies between these three universities. He has been a Fellow at University of Cambridge and International Institute of Asian Studies, Amsterdam. His books include Strange Virtues: Ethics in a Multicultural World. Currently, he is writing on Modernity, Religion and Culture in the Social Imaginary of Southeast Asia.

    Address: Pondok Tali Rasa, Jl. Dumung 100, CT VIII, Karanggayam, Yogyakarta, 55281, Indonesia.

    Frank R. Ankersmit teaches intellectual history and philosophy of history at Groningen University. He has published widely in the fields of aesthetics, political philosophy and philosophy of history. His most recent book is Sublime Historical Experience (2005). In 2006 he published, in Dutch, a book on the refeudalization of Western democracy and its dangers.

    Address: Department of History, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

    Christian Bartolf (born 1960 in Luebeck, Germany), political and educational scientist, counsellor for conscientious objectors, founder and director of the Gandhi Information Center (, organiser of the campaign for the Manifesto against conscription and the military system (, author and editor of following English language books: Tolstoy and Gandhi (1996), Letter to a Hindoo. Taraknath Das, Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi (1997), Hermann Kallenbach, Mahatma Gandhi's friend in South Africa (together with Isa Sarid, 1997), The Breath of My Life. The Correspondence of Mahatma Gandhi (India) and Bart de Ligt (Holland) on War and Peace (2000), Manifesto against Conscription and the Military System (2001) and several articles.

    Address: Zinzendorfstr. 8, 10555 Berlin, Germany. The address of the Gandhi Information Center: Postfach (P.O. Box) 210109, 10501 Berlin, Germany.

    Robert Bernasconi is the Moss Chair of Excellence in Philosophy at the University of Memphis. He is the author of two books on HeideggerThe Question of Language in Heidegger's History of Being and Heideggerin Question. Granta Press published his How To Read Sartre in 2006. He is the author of numerous essays on Hegel, twentieth century European philosophy, and social and political philosophy. In recent years he has worked extensively on the history of race thinking. He edited Race and with Kristie Dotson Race, Hybridity and Miscegenation.

    Address: Dept of Philosophy, Clement Hall 331, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN 38152, USA.

    Jose Jowel Canuday has been studying and writing about the dynamics of conflicts, displacements, violence and Muslims, Christians, indigenous peoples' and state relations in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. He was recently a South-East Asian visiting fellow at the Refugee Studies Centre of the Department of International Development, University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Currently, he teaches anthropology at the University of the Philippines Mindanao in Davao City, his home-base. He is also affiliated with the Mindanawon Institute for Cultural Dialogue, a centre for academics and professionals with special interest in enriching the spectrum of Mindanao studies.

    Address: 11–3 Padre Gomez Street, 8000 Davao City, The Philippines.

    John Clammer is Director of International Courses and Special Advisor to the Rector at the United Nations University. He has previously held positions at the University of Hull and the National University of Singapore and visiting positions at the Universities of Tokyo, Oxford, Kent, Essex, Buenos Aires, Weimar, the Australian National University, Murdoch University and the Institute of South-East Asian Studies, Singapore. His work has focussed geographically on South-East Asia and Japan and thematically on contemporary social theory, the sociology of development, urban sociology, the sociology of art and culture and the sociology of religion in Asia. Amongst his major interests is that of the dialogue between Western social and cultural theory and Asian societies. His more recent books include Japan and its Others: Globalization, Difference and the Critique of Modernity (2001); Diaspora and Identity: The Sociology of Culture in Southeast Asia (2002) and Diaspora and Belief (2008).

    Fred R. Dallmayr is Packey J. Dee Professor of Political Theory at University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA and is the author of many moving works such as Alternative Visions (1998), Achieving our World (2001), Dialogue Among Civilizations (2002), Peace Talks—Who Will Listen (2004) and Small Wonder: Global Power and its Discontents (2005).

    Address: Fred Dallmayr, Department of Government, 746 Flanner Hall, University of Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA.

    Chitta Ranjan Das based in Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India is an educator, writer and thinker and has now written and translated more than two hundred books on different aspects of our collective human journey and strivings for transformations. Some of his books are: Jeevana Vidyalaya [The School of Life], Sukara O Socrates [Socrates and the Pig], Purna Ekatara Yoga [Towards A Yoga of Fuller Unity], Sataku Sata Ma [Truly A Mother], Bira Yodha Kari [Being a Heroic Warrior], Letters from the Forest, A Glimpse into Oriya Literature, Kristen Kold: A Revolutionary in Education and A Pioneer of Danish Folk High School Movement, and Manaku Stiri Besa Kari [Making Our Mind a Woman]. Now in his mid-eighties, Das continues his creative strivings in literature, education and social transformation.

    Address: 83/A Bapujee Nagar, Bhubaneswar-751009, Orissa, India.

    S.N. Eisenstadt is Rose Isaacs Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he has been a faculty member since 1946 and a Senior Research Fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. He has served as visiting professor at numerous universities, including Harvard, Stanford, M.I.T., Chicago, Michigan, Washington, Oslo, Zurich and Vienna, Hong Kong. He has received numerous honorary doctorates and awards for his outstanding contribution to social sciences and humanities. He has published more than dozen books in a life of remarkable creativity which include The Political System of Empires (1963), Fundamentalism, Sectarianism and Revolutions (2000), Comparative Civilizations and Multiple Modernities (2003), and Explorations in Jewish Historical Experience: The Civilizational Dimension (2004).

    Address: The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, P.O. Box 4070, Jerusalem 91040, Israel.

    Johan Galtung, born 1930, founded the Peace Research Institute in 1959 in Oslo. Galtung is one of the leading pioneers of peace and conflict transformation in theory and practice. He has played an active role in preventing violence in 45 major conflicts around the world over the past four decades, and is author of the United Nation's first ever manual for trainers and participants on Conflict Transformation by Peaceful Means: The TRANSCEND Approach (UNDP 2000). Furthermore he has published over 100 books which have been translated into several languages. In 1987 he received the Right Livelihood Award (The Alternative Nobel Peace Prize) for his tireless work for peace, in both theory and practice. He has been awarded honorary doctorate by many universities around the world and have been visiting professors at Princeton University, Universities of Hawai'i, Witten/Herdecke, Tromso, Alicante, and Ritsumeikan University.

    Address: 7 Cret de neige F-01210 VERSONNEX France.

    Han Sang-Jin is Professor of Sociology at Seoul National University (SNU), Seoul, Korea. He teaches social theory, political sociology and cultural developments while conducting various researches on historical transformations and the role of the middle classes. He has advocated a theory of the ‘middling grassroots’ and initiated numerous public debates in Korea. He is the author of many books on critical social theory, including Habermas and the Korean Debate (1998), and has written numerous articles. As Visiting Professor, he taught at Columbia University in New York, EHESS in Paris and Beijing University in China.

    Address: Department of Sociology, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.

    Sapir Handelman is a Post Doctoral Fellow at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts and a visiting scholar at the Walter Eucken Institute, Freiburg, Germany. He holds B.Sc. in engineering, M.A. in economics and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Tel-Aviv University. His dissertation, The Ethical Limits of Manipulation from a Liberal Perspective, concerns the phenomenon of manipulation and the challenges it raises to the liberal philosophy and its derivatives (such as methodology of the social sciences and the optimal conduct of society). Dr Handelman is currently working mainly on two research projects:

    • ‘Manipulative behavior and freedom of choice’—an interdisciplinary research project which examines manipulation as a case study of essential questions upon the decent social order;
    • ‘Between Hayek and Machiavelli’—an examination of the possible relationships between the works of Hayek and Machiavelli.

    Address: Sapir Handelman, Simtat Hanegev 9A, Kiriyat Ata 28203, Israel 28203.

    Mark Lindley was born in Washington DC in 1937. His writings on topics related to Mahatma Gandhi have included Gandhiji ko yeh kaise wishwasgaya ki antarjatiya vivahse, jati pratha ka unmulan karna hoga (National Gandhi Museum, New Delhi, 1998), Gandhi and the World Today (1998), A Recent American View (University of Kerala), ‘Gandhi's’, Rhetoric (in Journal of Literature und Aesthetics, 1999), Gandhi and Humanism (3rd edition, 2005), J.C. Kumarappa, Mahatma Gandhi's Economist (2006), ‘Globalisierung’ und Gewalt, (in Aufktarung and Kritik, 2007), and Gandhi as We Have Known Him (with Lavanana Gora; 2nd edition, 2008). Dr Lindley is known also as the author of a great number of papers in musicology and has taught at leading universities in England, Germany, Turkey and China as well as in the USA and India.

    Address: C/o Samskar Ashram Vidyalam, Sanskar, Kotiah Camp, Varni, Nizamabad, Andhra Pradesh-503201, India.

    Dietmar Mieth is Professor of Theological Ethics and Social ethics at the Faculty of Catholic Theology, University of Tubingen. He has a special interest in religious experience in medieval mysticism, spirituality and lifestyle with specific reference to the work of Meister Eckhart, narrative ethics and bioethics. He was a Member of the Working Group of the Bioethics Committee of the European Council for the Embry Protection Report. He has published 27 books as monographs, 50 books as editors, and more than 500 articles.

    Address: Faculty of Catholic Theology, University of Tubingen, Liebermeisterstr. 12, D-72076 Tubingen, Germany.

    Mateo Mier y Terán G.C. was a researcher at El Collegio, Mexico City, Mexico and is currently completing his doctorate in development studies at University of Sussex. He has done fieldwork in the Chiapas since 1998 and has carried out research with Autonomous Zapatista communities. He has written a theses on the process of economic and sociopolitical transformation and organization in Altamirano, Chiapas. He is also involved in fair trade organization, at the moment is starting a net of honey consumers with fair deals for the producer.

    Address: Cda De la cerca 62–2, San Angel, CP 01060, Mexico City, Mexico.

    Mrinal Miri is an engaging philosopher and thinker and has been the Director of Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla and Vice-Chancellor of North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong where he has taught philosophy for decades. He is also the author of Identity and the Moral Life (2003).

    Address: A-39, South Extension, Part- I, New Delhi-110 049.

    Godabarisha Mishra is Professor of Philosophy, University of Madras and presently Member-Secretary, Indian Council of Philosophical Research, New Delhi.

    Address: Member Secretary, Indian Council of Philosophical Research, ‘Darshan Bhavan’, 36, Tughlakabad Institutional Area (Near Batra Hospital), M.B. Road, New Delhi-110 062, India.

    Jan Nederveen Pieterse is Mellichamp Professor, Global Studies and Sociology at the Global and International Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara. He specializes in transnational sociology, globalization, development studies and intercultural studies. He teaches and lectures in many countries such as Ghana, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, South Africa, Sweden, Sri Lanka, Thailand. He is associate editor of Futures, European Journal of Social Theory, Ethnicities, Globalizations, Third Text and Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science. Recent books include Pants for an Octopus: Ethnicities, Global Multiculturalism (in preparation), Globalization or Empire? (2004), Global Mélange: Globalization and Culture (2003) & Development Theory: Deconstructions/ Reconstructions (2001) & Empire and Emancipation: Power and Liberation on a World Scale (1989; 1990; 1990 Award of the Netherlands Society of Sciences).

    Address: Jan Nederveen Pieterse, Mellichamp Professor, Global Studies and Sociology, Global and International Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-7065

    Kanchana Mahadevan is currently Reader and Head of the Department of Philosophy, University of Mumbai. Her areas of specialization include continental philosophy, feminist theory, political thought and aesthetics. Dr Mahadevan's doctoral work is an examination of Jürgen Habermas's theory of communicative action in the context of Kantian ethics. She is especially interested in relating gender to both, Western and Indian, thought and culture. She is also working on issues related to the philosophy of environment in the context of environmental problems in India.

    Address: Dr Kanchana Mahadevan, Department of Philosophy, University of Mumbai, Vidyanagari, Kalina, Santacruz (E) Mumbai-400098, India.

    Akop P. Nazaretyan is a Senior Researcher at the Institute for Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences and is a Full Professor at International University (Dubna), Moscow State University and Russian Academy of State Service. He has published more than 250 papers and seven books including Intelligence in the Universe: Origins, Formation and Prospects (1991) and Civilization Crises within the Context of Big History: Self-Organization, Psychology & Forecasts (2001; 2nd edition, 2004).

    Address: Rossoshanskaya – 1 – 1 – 688. Moscow, Russia, 117535.

    Philip Quarles van Ufford is attached as Emeritus to the Department of Anthropology of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He has widely published on issues of religion and development; the vicissitudes of development policy practices and problems of organisation. Currently, he is preparing a book concerning the relationships between different religious communities over a longer period of time in Central Java, and a volume about the production of order and chaos in development policy processes.

    Address: Minervaplein 5–1, 1077TG, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

    Herbert Reid is Professor of Political Science at the University of Kentucky where he has also served as Director of Environmental Studies and Director of the UK Appalachian Center. He has been an active member of the Committee on Social Theory and serves on the Editorial Board for Human Studies. Along with Betsy Taylor and Wolfgang Natter, he served as Co-Director for the UK Rockefeller Humanities Fellowship Program, 2001–2005. As a political theorist he has contributed to such journals as Theory and Society and Dialectical Anthropology. His recent articles have appeared in Rethinking Marxism, New Political Science and Ethics and the Environment. Currently, he is at work with co-author Betsy Taylor on a book to be entitled Body Place Commons: The Life-world Logic of Democratic Republics and the Global Justice Movement.

    Address: 3337 Wood Valley Ct., Lexington KY 40502, USA.

    Piet Strydom teaches Sociology at University College Cork, Ireland. Having studied and worked as journalist, social researcher and academic in South Africa, he came as exile from the Apartheid regime to Europe where he consolidated his relation with neo-Frankfurt critical theory. His most recent publications include Discourse and Knowledge (2000), Risk, Environment and Society (2002), and Philosophies of Social Science (2003) edited and introduced with Gerard Delanty, and articles in journals such as the European Journal of Social Theory, Current Sociology, Sociological Theory, Social Epistemology and Philosophy and Social Criticism. He is at present editing a Special Issue of the European Journal of Social Theory on the theme of ‘Social Theory after the Cognitive Revolution: Varieties of Contemporary Cognitive Sociology’, and a book provisionally entitled Towards a New Cognitive Sociology is in progress.

    Address: Department of Sociology, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.

    Helena Tagesson is currently completing a masters degree in International Relations at Gothenburg University. She is international coordinator for Attac Sweden since 2002 and has worked extensively with the European Attac network and the European Social Forum. She is a member of green think tank Cogito and of the management body of Globalverkstan, a three-semester professional training programme for project managers in the social movement and NGO fields. She is a student of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, facilitates a meditation group in his tradition in Gothenburg, and is currently writing a thesis on his vision of engaged Buddhism in Vietnam. Her areas of interest include trade and development issues, and new models for political dialogue, conflict resolution and democracy in the age of globalization.

    Address: Sankt Olofsgatan 38, 41728 Goteborg, Sweden.

    Betsy Taylor is a cultural anthropologist whose recent research is on emerging forms of civil society and social movements, community-based natural resource management, place-based planning, globalization and sustainability. Her scholarly writings engage questions of environmental imaginaries and identities, the construction of identity (gender, class, place, ethnicity, religious), the constitution of public space, regimes of knowledge and the articulation of local/professionalized knowledges, participatory action research and public involvement strategies. Betsy Taylor is currently Senior Research Scholar with the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical and Cultural Theory, at the Virginia State and Polytechnic Institute. She has also served as Research Director for the Appalachian Center and on the faculty of the Social Theory program at the University of Kentucky. She has worked on projects for community-driven, integrated development and participatory action research in Appalachia and India—including health, agriculture, forestry, culture and environmental stewardship. In addition to numerous scholarly articles, she is co-author (with Herbert Reid) of Recovering the Commons: Democracy, Place, and Global Justice (University of Illinois Press, 2010).

    Address: 3337 Wood Valley Ct, Lexington, KY 40502.

    Thanh-Dam Truong is Associate Professor in Women/Gender and Development Studies at the Institute of Social Studies. She was one of the first scholars to have provided an academic analysis of the problem of sex tourism in South-East Asia from the perspective of international political economy. Her work has been translated into several languages (Dutch, Japanese, Indonesian and Spanish). She has published widely on subjects such as human development, gender research and international migration, human trafficking and organized crime, and the gender of transition. Her current work addresses the intersection between transnationalized human security, development ethics, the ethics of care and Buddhist epistemology.

    Address: Institute of Social Studies, P.O. Box 29776 2502 LT, The Hague, The Netherlands.

    Stellan Vinthagen is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Peace and Development Research (Padrigu), Gothenburg University, Sweden, and a Visiting Lecturer in England and India. His Ph.D. research (2005) develops a sociology of non-violent action. His area of interest includes as well resistance strategies, globalization, social change, power theory and social movements. Since the 1980 he has been a movement activist and teacher in conflict transformation and civil disobedience. Stellan has written two books, published several book chapters and articles and regularly presented research papers. His latest peace activism of nonviolent direct disarmament was in England against the Trident nuclear submarines.

    Address: Stellan Vinthagen, Sandeslätt 11, SE 424 36 Angered, Sweden.

    Felix Wilfred is the Founder-Director of Asian Center for Cross-Cultural Studies, Chennai and edits the influential theological journal Concilium.

    Address: Asian Center for Cross-Cultural Studies, 40/6A, Pnayurkuppam Road, Panayur, Chennai-600 119, India.

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