This book challenges the ongoing scholarly debates on poor people's negotiations with democracy. It demonstrates the varied ways in which the poor engage with their elected representatives, political mediators and dominant classes in order to advance their claims. Roy explains the variations by directing attention to the dynamic interaction between the opportunity structures available to the poor and the social relations of power in which they are embedded. He analyses these intersections as 'political spaces' which both enable and constrain popular practices. Through examination of the 'political spaces' available to the poor in four different localities, Roy outlines a new analytic framework to understanding poor people's politics. Based on these observations, the book makes a strong case for an approach to democracy that appreciates people's ambivalences towards democracy. Roy urges researchers of democracy to step beyond either enthusiastic narratives - the inevitability of democracy or apocalyptic accounts of democracy's impending death.
Indrajit Roy is Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. He is the recipient of the ESRC Future Research Leader Award. In addition, he holds a Junior Research Fellowship at Wolfson College and a James Martin Fellowship at the Oxford Martin School. He has published in, among others, World Development, the Journal of Peasant Studies, Oxford Development Studies and Contributions to Indian Sociology. He chairs the Development Politics Specialist Group of the Politics Studies Association of the UK.
List of tables, maps and charts; Acknowledgements; Glossary; Introduction: against false binaries; 1. The perspectives of the study: towards an Agonistics of democracy; 2. Political spaces: institutional opportunity structures; 3. Political spaces: social relations of power; 4. From clientelism to citizenship?: The politics of supplications; 5. From moral vocabularies to languages of stateness?: The politics of demands; 6. From backwardness to improvement?: The politics of disputation; 7. From tradition to modernity?: The politics of imagination; Conclusion: the politics of the poor: agonistic negotiations with democracy; Annexure 1: the dramatis personae; Annexure 2: the census survey; Annexure 3: the Multidimensional Poverty Index; Annexure 4: Schedule for BPL Census 2002; Annexure 5: Schedule for BPL Census 2002 West Bengal; Annexure 6: BPL Cutoff List for West Bengal; Annexure 7: Bihar Mahadalit Vikas Mission Mandate; Bibliography; Index.