Emopolis : “Emotions and Political Mobilizations in the Indian Subcontinent”

Emopolis : “Emotions and Political Mobilizations in the Indian Subcontinent”

For the first time, a collective research project based at the CEIAS, ‘Emotions and Political Mobilizations in the Indian Subcontinent’ (EMOPOLIS), held its midterm workshop at the Centre for Social Sciences and Humanities (CSSH) in New Delhi on February 26-27, 2015; this marks the beginning of a new phase of institutional collaboration between both centres.

EMOPOLIS was launched in late 2012 thanks to a grant from Emergence(s), the City of Paris’ support program for fundamental research. This three-year interdisciplinary and international program is co-directed by Stéphanie Tawa Lama-Rewal (CEIAS) and Amélie Blom (Sciences Po). EMOPOLIS is an experimental project that explores the different ways in which emotions inform social and political mobilizations in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. It began with the realization that South Asia has been largely left out of the social sciences’ renewed interest in the role of emotions in social movements and in the public sphere more generally.

In form as well as in content, the mid-term workshop was an important milestone in EMOPOLIS’ development. The 16 team members (researchers in Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, History, and Cultural Studies, based in France, Germany, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Brazil and the US) shared the preliminary results of their fieldwork with Delhi-based colleagues form a variety of institutions (Delhi University, Ambedkar University Delhi, Ashoka University, The Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, The Indian Institute of Technology, The Institute of Economic Growth, Jamia Millia Islamia). True to the spirit of the project, the workshop was diverse and experimental in the kinds of approaches it brought together. By exploring emotions and mobilizations in conjunction in a variety of case studies, the discussion contributed to a better understanding of the universal and culture-dependent dimensions of the emotional dynamics of collective action, while delivering new insights on South Asian political protest culture as well. The next step for the EMOPOLIS program will be a concluding conference set to take place in Paris, at the CEIAS, in February 2016.

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