Social Movements in India: A Review of Literature

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SAGE Publications, Apr 8, 2004 - Social Science - 281 pages
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Social movements hasn't been a popular topic with researchers, making up less than 3 per cent of all studies in history, political science, sociology and anthropology sponsored by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) up to the mid-nineties. The research has had an 'institutional' or 'government' skew, in that, the study of the politics of the masses has been largely ignored. There are reasons of history behind this, but what has been consistently lost sight of is the fact that in the absence of an understanding of the politics of the masses, the functioning of the state can be understood only partially.

This volume is a revised and enlarged edition of the author's review of literature on social movements in India, first commissioned by the ICSSR. After careful deliberation on the 'ideal' definition of a 'social movement', the author adopts for this volume the loose idea of 'non-institutionalised collective political action striving for social and political change'. On the basis of the socio-economic characteristics of participants and the issues involved, this volume makes a nine-fold classification of social movements: peasant movements, tribal movements, dalit movements, backward caste movements, women's movements, working class movements, students' movements, middle class movements and human rights and environmental movements (added in this edition).

This book is important as much for filling a scholarly lacuna in social science studies as for proposing--and executing--an orderly classification of literature on social movements in modern India. The original, shorter, monograph received an enthusiastic response from both scholars and laypersons, and this volume is likely to be welcomed similarly.

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About the author (2004)

Ghanshyam Shah is Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He has edited and written numerous books and essays on the subject of caste, class and politics in India.

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