Correcting Social Disadvantage Book Review: Affirmative Action in the United States and India: A Comparative Perspective by Thomas Weisskopf

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


AR Vasavi


Economic and Political Weekly, Routledge, Volume 40, London, p.1963–1965 (2005)



There are few issues as contentious as that of the policy of reservation (or positive discrimination and affirmative action), which, because of being studied insufficiently, remains mired in common prejudices. This comparative study of affirmative action policies and their impact in India and the US by the economist Thomas Weisskopf not only fills the gap but also helps address the multiple questions and assumptions that surround the policy. Although the book draws on secondary data and well known studies of policies and programmes, the author subjects the data and their assumptions to a close scrutiny that draws on sharp analytical reasoning but is framed and qualified within the philosophy of social justice and rights. The end result is a book that identifies popular and dominant perceptions and aspects of the policies and then reviews, assesses and comments on their implications for delivering their mandate; that of bringing about equality of opportunity to historically disadvantaged people.


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