The Public and the Private: Issues of Democratic Citizenship


Edited by: Gurpreet Mahajan & Helmut Reifeld

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  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Part I: Conceptualizing the Public and the Private

    Part II: Retrieving the Private

    Part III: The Public in the Context of Globalization

  • Copyright

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    Controversies about the relation and the distinctions between the public and the private sphere are finding a lot of attention in India as well as in Europe. How can the borderline between the public and the private sphere be understood, described and accepted? Where does the public sphere, mainly associated with the state, end and where does the private sphere, mainly associated with the family, begin? What constitutes and what are the main features of both spheres? Why, how and since when have the two to be distinguished? Questions of this kind are very often asked when the relation between the society and the state has to be fought out and when the legitimacy of the state is at stake.

    The German Konrad Adenauer Foundation is trying already for quite some time to bring together scholars from both India and Germany, in order to encourage exchange and promote discussion. A workshop under the title of ‘The Public and the Private. Democratic Citizenship in a Comparative Perspective’ was held at the India Habitat Centre between 2 and 4 November 2000. It was initiated and organized by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation as part of a series of workshops focused on India in a programme called ‘Dialogue on Values’. This workshop could not have been realized, however, without the collaboration of Professor Gurpreet Mahajan from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her excellent knowledge of the topic as well as of other experts updated the project, gave it a specific focus and turned it into a real comparative and intercultural dialogue.

    Thus, the articles in this book emanated from the common interest among the participants to find a new approach for dialogue in the areas of values related to the public-private divide. In order to be fruitful, such a dialogue has to be based on a mutual consensus of interest in the dialogue itself. By its very nature it has to be a process where one does not merely state and restate one's final conclusions but is willing to negotiate the differences of points of view. The articles of this book were written with the idea of raising questions and exploring the possible implications. They seek to promote and carry forward the spirit of dialogue rather than end it with a final statement. In this respect the present book not only provides some useful information about South Asia but also hopes to contribute to the promotion of a world-wide process of dialogue.

    Many words of thanks have to be expressed, as inputs have come from many sides, in the process of preparation as well as of publication. Most of the organizational and administrative problems have been solved by Manu Emmanuel and the process of publication was carefully handled by Omita Goyal and the copy editors. Our special gratitude, however, should go to those, who not only presented a paper and participated in the discussion, but who made the effort to revise their paper in the light of these discussions. Their effort is reflected in this book. Nevertheless, we owe our greatest thanks to Professor Gurpreet Mahajan. For her quick, precise and efficient collaboration the Konrad Adenauer Foundation is particularly grateful. Without her expertise and judgement, the book would not have come out as it did.

    New Delhi, October 2002
    Helmut Reifeld
  • About the Editors and Contributors

    The Editors

    Gurpreet Mahajan is Professor of Political Science at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She is the author of Explanation and Understanding in the Human Sciences (1992), Identities and Rights: Aspects of Liberal Democracy in India (1998) and The Multicultural Path: Issues of Diversity and Discrimination in Democracy (2001). She has also edited Democracy, Difference and Social Justice (1998) and co-edited Minority Identities and the Nation-State (with D.L. Sheth) 1999.

    Helmut Reifeld is at present the Representative of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in India. Formerly a research fellow with the German Historical Institute, London, and Bayreuth University, Germany, his co-edited works include Pluralism and Equality and Women in Panchayati Raj.

    The Contributors

    André Béteille has been Professor of Sociology in the Delhi School of Economics. He is a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, a Senior Life Associate of the National Institute of Advanced Study, and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute. His most recent publications include: Antinomies of Society; Essays on Ideologies and Institutions and Sociology; and Essays on Approach and Method.

    Neera Chandhoke is Professor at the Department of Political Studies, University of Delhi. Her work centres on the overlapping areas of political theory and comparative politics. Her main publications include Beyond Secularism: The Rights of Religious Minorities and, State and Civil Society: Explanations in Political Theory.

    Rajeev Dhavan is a practising lawyer in the Indian Supreme Court, educated at Allahabad, Cambridge and London universities. A former academic, he has written several books and articles on law and public affairs, especially on the judiciary and the media.

    Ute Frevert is Professor of Modern History at the University of Bielefeld (Germany). Her main publications in English include Women in German History and Men of Honour: A Social and Cultural History of the Duel. Her latest book is on military conscription in Germany in the 19th and the 20th century.

    Dipankar Gupta is Professor at the Centre for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. His recent publications are: Culture, Space and Nation State: From Sentiment to Structure; Interrogating Caste: Understanding Hierarchy and Difference in Indian Society; Mistaken Modernity: India Between Worlds; Rivalry and Brotherhood: Politics in the Life of Farmers of North India; The Context of Ethnicity: Sikh Identity in a Comparative Setting; Political Sociology in India; and, Nativism in a Metropolis: The Shiv Sena in Bombay.

    Clauspeter Hill is former Representative of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation to Vietnam. A trained lawyer, he is currently in charge of the South Asia Desk in the head office of the Foundation in Germany.

    L.C. Jain was a member of the National Planning Commission and has been actively engaged in the application of Gandhi's ideas to social transformation both in implementation at the grassroot level, as well as advocating policy changes in the light of field experience. He has held visiting fellowships at Harvard, Boston and Oxford Universities. He has also authored several books and papers on political decentralization and economic and social policies.

    Sarah Joseph formerly taught Political Science at Lady Shriram College for Women, Delhi University. With a primary interest in contemporary political theory her publications include Political Theory and Power and Interrogating Culture in addition to several articles in journals and edited volumes.

    T.N. Madan is Honorary Professor (Sociology) at the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi. He is the author and editor of over a dozen books including Nonrenunciation: Themes and Interpretations of HinduCulture; Pathways: Approaches to the Study of Indian Society and Modern Myths, Locked Minds: Secularism and Fundamentalism in India. Professor Madan is currently working on a volume on religion in the modern world.

    Kuldeep Mathur teaches at the Centre for Political Studies and is also currently associated with Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. His research interests lie in the broad area of Public Policy Analysis and Public Administration. He has published extensively in the field of public policy processes, bureaucracy and decentralization. His recent publications include an edited volume: Development Policy and Administration. A forthcoming book with James W. Bjorkman is entitled Policy, Technocracy and Development: Human Capital Policies in India and the Netherlands.

    Gail Omvedt is Senior Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. She is author of a number of books including: Cultural Revolt in a Colonial Society; We Shall Smash the Prison: Indian Women in Struggle; Reinventing Revolution: India's New Social Movement; Dalit and the Democratic Revolution; and Dalit Visions. She is translator of Growing up Untouchable in India: A Dalit Autobiography.

    Margrit Pernau is a historian, affiliated with the Universities of Bielefeld and of Erfurt, Germany. She holds a Ph.D. from the South Asia Institute, Heidelberg. She has recently published The Passing of Patrimonialism: Politics and Political Culture in Hyderabad 1911–48. Her research interests include the history of Catholicism in Europe, cultural and social history of Indian Islam and gender history. Currently she is working on a major project on Muslim plural identities in Shahjahanabad in the 19th century.

    Aswini K. Ray is Professor of International Relations and Comparative Politics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and scholar and activist of the Human Rights Movement in India. His publications include Domestic Compulsions and Foreign Policy; South Asian Regional Integration; Democratic Rights in a Post-Colonial Democracy; Global System in a Historical Perspective: A View from the Periphery; and Democracy and Social Capital in a Segmented Society (forthcoming).

    Arjun Sengupta is Professor at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Honorary Research Professor at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi. He was the former Ambassador of India to the European Union and Member Secretary of the Planning Commission. Currently he is also the Independent Expert on the Right to Development of the UN Human Rights Commission, Geneva and a Senior Visiting Fellow of the FXB Centre for Health and Human Rights, Harvard School of Public Health.

    Harsh Sethi is presently Consulting Editor of Seminar. He has earlier worked as Acquisitions Editor, Sage Publications and has also been Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies and Deputy Director at the Indian Council of Social Science Research. For long associated with a range of NGOs and social movements, he has co-authored and edited books on action research, human rights, participatory development and voluntary agencies.

    Patricia Uberoi has taught Sociology at the Delhi School of Economics and the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and is now with the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi. Prof. Uberoi has published extensively on family, gender and popular culture in both India and China.

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