Citizenship, Hybridity and the Post-Colonial State in India
Mitra, S. K., Schottli, J., Pauli, M. (2019). Citizenship, Hybridity and the Post-Colonial State in India. In: Abu-Er-Rub, L., Brosius, C., Meurer, S., Panagiotopoulos, D. and Richter, S. (eds.). Engaging Transculturality: Concepts, Key Terms, Case Studies. Chapter 23. Routledge. ISBN 9781138226647
29 Pages Posted: 19 May 2020
Date Written: 2019
Citizenship plays an essential role in the evolution of states. Concepts of citizenship have 'flown' from Roman and Greek antiquity to the modern, liberal and democratic European idea of citizenship. We analyse the dynamic nature of citizenship, both as an idea and in practice. We argue that stakeholders constantly reimagine and renegotiate citizenship. Memory, visualisation and social construction play an essential role. This perspective opens up space for a new theory of citizenship to emerge. One yielded not merely from the experience of the older, liberal democracies, but also that of younger, post-colonial states. The transcultural lens of hybridity extends the discussion beyond the narrow notion of the nation-state.
We discuss and propose the notion of hybridity as a heuristic device. And we assess the following givens and problems in 'mainstream' political theories of citizenship. (1) The inherent linearity of the historical narrative underpinning the storyline of citizenship. (2) The implicit assumptions of methodological nationalism in framing the unit of analysis. (3) The challenge of incorporating differentiation and variation; into a concept that has been conceived as watertight and fixed. In our case study of citizenship in modern India, we draw attention to the entanglement between citizenship and endogenous ideas of self-hood.
Citizenship is a crucial interface between the state and society. It is a fundamental building block of political order. Why was India more successful than other post-colonial states in providing the bases of citizenship? The political, legal as well as moral bases. We see India's success in turning subjects (and rebels) into citizens as a function of political institutions, processes and memory. These institutional arrangements draw both on the modern state and traditional society. In the process, they create a 'hybrid state'.
The findings of a large-N survey on the perception of citizenship in India are presented. Our cumulative index of citizenship comprises measures for self-definition, perceived own empowerment, and an appraisal of citizen responsibilities. It highlights the role of gender, caste, and place of residence for citizenship. We argue that citizen-making is not a teleological process. But rather a strategy from which hybrid categories emerge. These must be socially meaningful and morally accessible to the individual if citizenship is to be resilient. We conclude with a discussion of hybridisation as a process and product. Hybridisation illuminates the strength of indigenous ideas suitable to a particular society. And their relation to national, regional and local values and power structures.
Keywords: citizenship, cultural hybridity, post-colonial, state formation, India, political theory, definition, social constructionism, transcultural studies, nation-state, nationalism, decolonization, political order, new institutionalism, survey, hybridisation, indigenous, political power, South Asia
JEL Classification: F54, H4, H7, H11, H75, O15
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