The Postcolonial Politics of Ashis Nandy explores the work of India’s leading public intellectual and political and cultural critics Ashis Nandy. Nandy has contributed extensively to social and political criticism for over forty years and to a range of academic and public debates in India and beyond, his significance as a thinker is widely applauded. Noted for his characteristic provocative approach, and critique of Indian political culture, particularly the rise of Hindu fundamentalism and an increasing authoritarian Indian State, his voice is distinctive and divides.
Such a mixed reception to Nandy and his work affirms his significance as a contemporary postcolonial thinker whose fascinating impact, both in scholarly and in public debates, cannot be ignored. This ambiguity attached to his reception is also reflected in his ambivalent relationship to postcolonial scholarship, notably disciplinary ‘postcolonial studies’ and structures of knowledge more broadly. A product of Indian postcolonial culture and yet critical of disciplinary ‘postcolonial studies,’ Nandy has contributed extensively to postcolonial scholarship and debate, and in broadening our understanding of postcolonial politics. Although not always recognized as distinctively ‘postcolonial’ Nandy’s work offers alternatives to more conventional definitions of both politics and postcolonial theory. This book begins at this juncture in characterizing Nandy’s critique of ‘postcolonial studies,’ before proceeding to explore and detail key areas in Nandy’s thinking that both mark him as one of the most important postcolonial voices and critics of his generation.
Advancing an alternative conception of postcolonial theory and postcolonial politics in Nandy's work, this book contributes to a broadening of debates on postcolonial theory and politics and will be interest to students and scholars alike.
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Christine Deftereos is a social theorist whose writings explore the relationship between self and society. Her research interests take place at the intersection between contemporary social and political criticism, psychoanalytic theory and the politics of selfhood. With a specialized interest in postcolonial politics and South Asian politics, her work also explores processes of identification and the limits of identity politics.
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