This volume takes a critical look at the popular representations of the concept of public and private in the context of democracy. Most analyses of state and citizenship in contemporary times invoke the idea of public and private. Though these are amongst the most commonly used terms in social science discourses, there exists considerable ambiguity about what each of these concepts denotes. Most often they are presented as discrete, if not separate, spheres of life and activity locked in an antagonistic relationship.

The essays in this volume take a critical look at these diverse representations of public and private, the manner in which they reinforce each other and collectively impact democracy. In the era of globalization, the relationship between public and private is being steadily redefined. The book reflects upon these changes and the implications they have for democratic citizenship.

The Struggle for Social Justice and the Expansion of the Public Sphere

The struggle for social justice and the expansion of the public sphere

Introduction: Defining ‘Public’

Most of the theoretical discussions of the meaning and significance of the public sphere have taken place in reference to European history. However, Partha Chatterjee (1993), among others, has insisted that qualitatively different processes have taken place in the third world. He points to the role of imperialism and national resistance as the main factor behind this. This paper, while keeping in mind the national contradiction and the relationship of ‘public’ and ‘nation,’ will examine the question of the public sphere in the context of the traditional social system of India or caste, and look at its emergence as related ...

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