Both India and China have experienced economic changes that have generated new challenges for local institutions. This volume closely studies the resultant grass-roots political experiences in these countries from an interdisciplinary perspective. It examines the process of democratization and highlights the growing demands for participation and the complex power structures interjecting them.
The contributors to this volume discuss issues relating to institutional structures and the dynamics of local governance in a changing socio-economic environment. In addition to the political economy of rural areas, they also focus on the role of gender, ethnicity, and religion in local political processes.
Outlines how institutional innovation has evolved in both countries; Highlights the impact of the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution (in India) and the Organic Law (in China) in facilitating political participation; Investigates how far the new democratic processes have reduced ethnic subordination, caste hierarchy, and gender injustice at the village level
Comprising individual case studies as well as comparative perspectives, this pioneering volume raises new issues of institution-building and socio-economic change vis-à-vis the right to participate. It will be of particular interest to political scientists, sociologists, and social activists.
Introduction: Local Governance, Local Democracy and the Right to Participate
Aspirations for grass-roots democracy have acquired universal recognition during the past quarter century. In recent years, however, local self-governance has emerged as the new mantra of the forces of globalisation and liberalisation. There are two divergent perspectives on local governance: one sees it as an arena for transforming an unequal local society into a democratic community; while the other treats it as an agency or a channel to implement centrally-formulated policies and programmes. The former evokes the ideas of Gandhi, trying to reinvent the vision of gram swaraj or village-level self-rule or villagers’ self-determination in the course of people's struggle for freedom. ...