NIAS Wednesday Discussion - Prof. Priyadarshini Singh will speak on "India and its Nationhood-Grassroots nationhood as Conceptual Frames”

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Title: India and its Nationhood-Grassroots nationhood as Conceptual Frames


Speaker: Priyadarshini Singh

Research Fellow, State Capacity Initiative, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi


Chair: Narendar Pani

Professor & Dean, School of Social Sciences, NIAS


Date & Time: 27 January 2021 at 4.00 PM


Abstract: This paper examines the meanings of Indian nationhood at the grassroots level in ‘settled’ locales where no state-seeking separatist movement exists but local identifications of caste, language and religion are politically prominent. Based on ethnographic data from four rural and urban locales, the paper extends the literature on Indian nationalism and everyday nationalism. At the grassroots, Indian nationhood is fuzzy and intermittent in nature; ‘conceptual frames’ are a useful analytical tool to examine this, with a focus on territory, community and political leadership. Indian nationhood is not conceptualized predominantly as a cultural category; it is meaningful as a journey towards an ideal horizon defined by the values of dignity, rights, freedom, equality and socio-economic development. Non-elites play an active role in nation-making and invoke these frames strategically and self-consciously for local and particular purposes.

About the Speaker:

Dr Priyadarshini Singh is a Research Fellow at the State Capacity Initiative, the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi. She is interested in political values and their manifestations in the informal terrains of the everyday and the grassroots as well as in the formal world of institutions and government procedures. She is currently conceptualising two studies on nationalism. The first is a short study on the National Integration Council (NIC) of India as one of the less popular and therefore, less researched institutional instruments of nationalism. The second is a study on grassroots political ideas and values in India to explore their ‘lives’ and ‘roles’ outside the ballot box. The study is an ethnography of political ideas and seeks to engage with the current discussions on rising majoritarian, populist and the right-wing turn in Indian politics. 

Dr. Singh has a doctorate in Political Sociology from SOAS, University of London. Prior to CPR, she has worked at the Ashoka University on legal and regulatory reform for civil society and the PwC-India on social protection.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021