India’s over 200 million Dalits have been mobilized by social movements and political parties, but the outcomes of this mobilization are puzzling. Dalits’ ethnic parties have performed poorly in elections in states where movements demanding social equality have been strong while they have succeeded in states where such movements have been entirely absent or weak.
In his new book, Mobilizing the Marginalized, Amit Ahuja demonstrates that the collective action of marginalized groups–those that are historically stigmatized and disproportionately poor ED is distinct. Drawing on extensive original research conducted across four of India’s largest states, he shows, for the marginalized, social mobilization undermines the bloc voting their ethnic parties’ rely on for electoral triumph and increases multi-ethnic political parties’ competition for marginalized votes. He presents evidence showing that a marginalized group gains more from participating in a social movement and dividing support among parties than from voting as a bloc for an ethnic party.
Amit Ahuja recently received the prestigious Kamaladevi Chattopdhayay NIF Book Prize for this book for 2020.
Amit Ahuja, Prof of Political Science, UC Santa Barbara.
Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Prof of Political Science and Former Vice-Chancellor, Ashoka University.
Amit Ahuja is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research focuses on the processes of inclusion and exclusion in multi-ethnic societies. He has studied this within the context of ethnic parties and movements, military organization, intercaste marriage, and skin color preferences in South Asia. Professor Ahuja’s research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Institute of Indian Studies, the National Bureau of Asian Research and the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, the Hellman Family Foundation, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of Michigan.
PRATAP BHANU MEHTA
Dr Pratap Bhanu Mehta is one of India’s foremost public intellectuals. He is most respected for his deep understanding of politics and society, clarity of thoughts and their articulation.
He is a Professor of Political Science and former Vice-Chancellor, Ashoka University.
He was previously President, Center for Policy Research. He has been a Professor at Harvard, JNU, the Global Faculty Program at NYU Law School. He has published widely in political theory, constitutional law, society and politics in India, governance and political economy, and international affairs.
His most recent publications include The Oxford Handbook to the Indian Constitution (co-edited with Madhav Khosla and Sujit Choudhary); Rethinking India’s Public Institutions (with Devesh Kapur and Milan Vaishnav); Non-Alignment 2.0 (with Srinath Raghavan, Sunil Khilnani et al), The Oxford Companion to Politics in India (with Niraja Jayal); India and Multilateralism (with Bruce Jones and WPS Sidhu) and the Burden of Democracy.
He has also served in a number of policy roles including, Member Convenor of the Prime Minister of India’s National Knowledge Commission, Member of the National Security Advisory Board, Member of the Lyngdoh Committee. He Chairs the Jury for the Holberg Prize.
Dr Mehta has a prolific engagement with public affairs. He is an editorial consultant to Indian Express, where he writes a regular column. In addition, he has written for the Financial Times, and a number of leading national and international publications. He is on the Editorial Board of American Political Science Review and Journal of Democracy.