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Anxieties of DemocracyTocquevillean Reflections on India and the United States$
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Partha Chatterjee and Ira Katznelson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780198077473

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198077473.001.0001

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An Immense and (In)complete Democracy

An Immense and (In)complete Democracy

A Tocquevillean Perspective on India’s Experiment with Democratic Citizenship*

(p.119) 4 An Immense and (In)complete Democracy
Anxieties of Democracy

Niraja Gopal Jayal

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines India’s experience with democratic citizenship by referring to two interrelated aspects of Alexis de Tocqueville’s argument in Democracy in America. The first argument is about the relationship between social equality and democracy, and the second is about civil society or the associational sphere for the performance of citizenship. However, neither the equality-democracy thesis nor the theory of citizenship was invoked by Tocqueville in his narrative of the ‘two unlucky races’ or indeed of women. This chapter looks at the Indian constitutional discourse and state policies on comparably disadvantaged groups, including women. Dana Villa has argued that the central distinction for Tocqueville was not between société politique and société civile, but between centralized and local and organizations of power with their implications for politics and participation in public life. This chapter situates the argument about differentiated citizenship in the local.

Keywords:   democracy, Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, differentiated citizenship, social equality, civil society, women, Dana Villa, politics, disadvantaged groups

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