BibliOpen logo
Search icon
Hailing the State: Indian Democracy between Elections

by Lisa Mitchell

Duke University Press, 2023


eISBN: 978-1-4780-2339-5

OA eISBN: 978-1-4780-9358-9

Paper: 978-1-4780-1876-6

Cloth: 978-1-4780-1612-0

About the Book
In Hailing the State, Lisa Mitchell explores the methods of collective assembly that people in India use to hold elected officials and government administrators accountable, demand inclusion in decision making, and stage informal referendums. Mitchell traces the colonial and postcolonial lineages of collective forms of assembly, in which—rather than rejecting state authority—participants mobilize with expectations that officials will uphold the law and fulfill electoral promises. She shows how assembly, which ranges from sit-ins, hunger strikes, and demands for meetings with officials to massive general strikes and road and rail blockades, is fundamental to the functioning of democracy in India. These techniques are particularly useful for historically marginalized groups and others whose voices may not be easily heard. Moving beyond an exclusive focus on electoral processes, Mitchell argues that to understand democracy—both in India and beyond—we must also pay attention to what occurs between elections, thereby revising understanding of what is possible for democratic action around the world.
About the Author
Lisa Mitchell is Professor of History and Anthropology in the Department of South Asia Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Language, Emotion, and Politics in South India: The Making of a Mother Tongue.
"In redefining democratic practice to include collective assembly, Mitchell weaves an intricate picture of how people understand themselves as democratic citizens. Deftly combining approaches from anthropology, history, and political theory, she brings alive the mosaic of actions that they employ in what she terms “hailing the state.” She draws on very rich archival and ethnographic material to tell us the ways in which people have and continue to hail the state."

-- Lipika Kamra Review of Politics
India, Democracy, Asian, 21st century, World, Cultural & Social, Politics and government, Anthropology, Political Science, Social Science
Open Access Information

Label: University of Pennsylvania

License: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0