[CSH Seminar #ONLINE] Participatory democracy in India: incarnations, transformations, institutionalization? (S. Tawa Lama)

[CSH Seminar #ONLINE] Participatory democracy in India: incarnations, transformations, institutionalization? (S. Tawa Lama)

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Prof. Stéphanie Tawa Lama

(Researcher CSH-CNRS)

Participatory democracy in India: incarnations, transformations, institutionalization?

Discussant: Jean- Thomas Martelli, Researcher-CSH

The session will be online via Zoom on 4th April 2022, 05:00 pm onwards:


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Abstract: Most commentators of Indian democracy equate ‘participation’ with voter turnout. Yet a series of practices have emerged and developed in India since the 1990s, that organize direct interactions between citizens and public authorities at the local level. How does this new, participatory dimension of democracy fit in with the deeply unequal Indian society? How is participation organized? Which are the devices or procedures used in the new participatory spaces? To what political ideas do they refer? Is the development of participatory practices in India mostly informed by endogenous or exogenous dynamics? And most importantly, what does the Indian experience tell us about the relationship between citizen participation and the deepening of democracy?

In order to address these questions, this book offers a genealogy of the Indian strand of participatory democracy since independence and a typology of participatory devices. Based on the serial study of four such devices implemented in the city-state of Delhi, which has become a laboratory of participatory democracy since the late 1990s, it analyses the avatars of the idea of participation, i.e. its various incarnations, its many transformations and its resistible institutionalization.

Stéphanie Tawa Lama is a CNRS Research Director (political science) at the Centre d’Etudes de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud (Centre for South Asian Studies, CNRS-EHESS), Paris. She studies contemporary Indian democracy through four main themes: political representation (with a special focus on women); political mobilisations ; participatory experiences; and urban governance. Her recent publications include a book on the Indian versions of participatory democracy ; a collective volume (co-edited with Amélie Blom) on the role of emotions in political mobilisations ; a special issue of India Review on political representation in India ; and a series of articles  on metropolitan democracy and the Aam Aadmi Party.

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