Prerna Singh Book Adda ─ How Solidarity Works for Welfare

[MUSIC PLAYING] Let me welcome you all to this
opening event of our center. I’m Ashutosh Varshney, Director
of the Center for Contemporary South Asia– a new center
at the Watson Institute– and professor in the
development– in the department political science. This opening of event
of the academic year is actually a
double celebration. It inaugurates our
institutional life as a center. And the associate
director of the Center is here, Leelah
Gandhi, sitting there. Inaugurates our institutional
life as a center, and to mark that moment we
have mobilized and are leaning on the innovative, intellectual
energy of our colleague, Prerna Singh. Her new book, How Solidarity
Works for Welfare, Subnationalism and Social
Development in India, was published by
Cambridge University Press a few months ago. The book’s argument
has attracted enormous professional attention. Receiving two book
awards and three awards for the article that
was based on the book and that appeared
in World Politics. I would not list
all of these awards, but only note that
they included two of the most coveted prizes
in political science and one in sociology. From the American Political
Science Association– APSA– Prerna received the
Woodrow Wilson Foundation Prize for the best book of the year
in all fields of the discipline. In all fields of the discipline. And the Gregory Luebbert
Prize for the best article in comparative politics for
her World Politics paper. From American Sociology
Association– the ASA– she received the Barrington
Moore Prize for the best book in comparative and
historical sociology. To critically appraise the
arguments and methods deployed in the book, we have assembled a
team of distinguished scholars. Two of them are South Asia
specialists, Irfan Nooruddin and Sanjay Reddy, professors at
Georgetown and the New School respectively. Three are comparativists
who have either dealt with ethnic politics,
or nationalism, or welfare provision in their own
regions of specialization, or they have done
so cross regionally. The comparative
czar, Peter Hall, who is about to
arrive any moment, and Melani Cammett–
both professors at Harvard– and
Andrea [? Swimmer ?], professor at Columbia. Moreover, we should note our
panel is interdisciplinary. Three of the panelists–
Peter, Melani, and Irfan– are political scientists and
political science’s parent discipline. And two panelists practice a
different disciplinary craft. Andreas is a sociologist,
and Sanjay an economist. We don’t envision an uncritical
celebration of the book. This is a celebratory
moment all right, but we don’t envision an
uncritical celebration of the book. But one that focuses
on what is persuasively argued on what some
of the gaps might be, and on how to take the argument
forward in future work. No book is ever perfect, not
even Robert Putnam’s legendary Making Democracy Work. To which Prerna’s
book has been compared by two award committees
in their citations, which is a very, very
remarkable honor. That comparison. In short, even though this
is a celebratory moment, we expect an intellectually
well rounded discussion. Anything else would not
do justice to the book, nor would it do justice to
the intellectual firepower assembled here. The format will be as follows. Prerna will introduce
the arguments of the book in the first 10 to 12 minutes. Then each speaker
will have 12 minutes. Prerna will respond
in 15 minutes. That will leave us with
about 25 to 30 minutes for audience participation. We’ll then break for a
celebratory reception outside. Please welcome our multiple
award winner, Prerna Singh. [APPLAUSE] So thank you all sincerely
for being here today. Never in my wildest
dreams– and yes, academics tend to
dream about such things sometimes– had I imagined
that my book would be the subject that would bring
together a panel of scholars so distinguished in stature that
the word stars seems grossly inadequate. And also across
three disciplines which respect– which represent
my own training and allegiance. I began in economics. I think of myself as a
comparative political scientist with a strong
allegiance to sociology. But most crucially
scholars, each of whose work has inspired
and informed my own thought processes. Sasha [INAUDIBLE]
for being the amazing force behind this event
and all that the Center for Contemporary South
Asia does and will do. And thank you Andreas,
Irfan, Melani, Sanjay, and Peter, who is in
transit, for making the trip to Providence. I am humbled and honored
by your presence. So the way people live
depends to a large extent on where they live. It’s commonplace to
say that residents of Scandinavian countries enjoy
a far higher standard of living than those in Central Asia. But what is more puzzling
is that even people in the same part
of the world can lead strikingly
divergent kinds of lives. To give you an instance,
an infant born in Haiti is more than 12
times more likely to die before his first
birthday as compared as if he’s born less than
50 miles away in Cuba. Similarly, this looks at
global literacy rates. You’re four times more
likely to grow up illiterate if you’re born in
Burkina Faso as compared to neighboring Ghana. And variations of
this kind persist even within national boundaries. So why do people
in different parts of the world, in
neighboring countries, even within the same
country experience such dramatic divergences in
their levels of well-being? A large developing,
multi-ethnic, federal democracy such as India provides
a rich context for an analysis of this puzzle. So some states in
India have attained levels of social
development that are equivalent to those of
middle income, industrialized countries. Other states have fared worse
than the worst performing countries in sub-Saharan Africa. So just to give you
a sense of this, in the 1990’s if you were
born in the state of Kerala in the south– which has a
larger population than Canada. If you were a rural
woman, for instance, you were expected to live
on average 20 years more and be three times more likely
to be able to read and write as compared to if you were
born in the state of Uttar Pradesh– which
is demographically larger than Russia. So why have Indian
states, which are bound by the same
legal, electoral, and financial systems,
remained worlds apart in social development? This is the core
empirical puzzle at the heart of the book. And the question of the
determinants of social welfare has generated a longstanding and
influential body of scholarship across the social sciences. And in some ways
I’ve put forward a new, and also
somewhat controversial, argument that puts the
emphasis on something that hasn’t been
emphasized very much, which is a sense of
shared solidarity. So the argument is that across
Indian states variations in the strength of
subnational solidarity– or what I call
subnationalism– influences state action, which is the
key determinant of levels of social development. I also have a societal story
which I want emphasized. So the argument for
reasons of time, the subnationalism argument
builds on social identity theory in psychology. Which is basically the idea
that when you move from a me to a we identity your
effect towards that group becomes more positive. There’s an idea
of a linked fate, and of a prioritization
of collective, not just individual interests. Under scholarship and
liberal nationalism in political theory,
that makes an argument for the ethical obligations that
stem from a shared identity. So the key mechanism is that
a subnational solidarity pushes elites to prioritize
social welfare, which is the key driver for
differences in levels of social development. So the subnationalism
argument pushes us away from some of the most
established arguments about the determinants
of social welfare. So arguments, for
instance, that have emphasized that the level
of wealth of a country is the key determinant of its
level of social development. The nature and structure
of state institutions, regime type, but also the
level of decentralization or centralization. The presence of social
democratic parties, or class politics more broadly. The nature and structure
of political competition, a version of which both
professors Cammett and Nooru on the panel have made. The idea that the
emphasis should lie in levels of ethnic diversity. And finally, an argument
about social capital and civil society associated
both with Robert Putnam, but also of course with
Professor Varshney. So the argument about
social– about subnationalism pushes us away, on the one
hand, from this literature on the determinants of welfare. But it also pushes
us, on the other hand, away from the conventional
understanding about the impact of collective identities. So in much of the scholarship,
the dominant understanding of collective
identities has been– in a pejorative
sense– as something with a destructive potential. Nationalism, for
instance, is infamously associated with quite
nasty tendencies, like xenophobia, or
intolerance, of violence. And this is an
argument that really talks about the constructive
potential of a shared identity. The argument in the book is
set out through a mixed methods research design. And the argument
really develops through a comparative historical
analysis of five case study states– Kerala, Tamil Nadu,
Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar– that goes back
to the mid 19th century and continues to
the present period. And it relies heavily
on archival as well as field research
that was conducted over 20 months in India. And one of the things
that I wanted to do was put the state
of Kerala, which is an international
poster child for child– for social development,
in active conversation with other states. And so as my colleague
and a veteran of Kerala studies Professor
Heller will testify, the field of Kerala studies is a
rambunctious and lively sphere. And so in entering– in entering
Kerala and the sphere of Kerala studies I came into
active opposition with arguments on
the one hand famously made by [INAUDIBLE] about–
that traces Kerala’s social development to
an enlightened monarchy. And on the other
hand, the arguments that stress the
importance of a legacy of Christian missionaries,
a matrilineal society, or the presence of a certain
kind of class politics. And one of the, kind
of, gratifying things about the book is the
overwhelmingly positive response that it has received
within popular and scholarly circles in Kerala. And while– I
promised, actually, I wouldn’t talk
about it, but there are events happening in
Kerala even today that just exemplify the– the
mechanisms through which the argument works. And so that’s been to me
personally quite gratifying. So this argument that
develops through a comparative historical analysis
is then tested through a statistical
analysis of all Indian states. But what I want to
do just very quickly is to flag how this
argument, which is developed in the
empirical case of India, travels beyond India. So to some extent I said
it was a new argument, but really it’s more like
a forgotten argument. It’s an old, forgotten argument. Because there are–
there’s a large scholarship on how the emergence of
the welfare state in Europe and Britain in the second–
after the second World War was, to a large extent,
because of the society cohesion and solidarity that was
generated by the war. Conversely there’s
a set of scholars who’ve argued that the absence
of a welfare state in the US is attributed to the absence of
a sense of national solidarity. So after the Civil War, rather
than having a unified entity, you actually had a regionally
bifurcated entity– the Confederate South
and the new Union North. And the welfare states that
the US had mirrored this. So [INAUDIBLE] soldiers
and mothers, these were actually fairly generous
welfare states, just never at a national level. Similarly, I think there’s
an argument about differences in social welfare provision
across African countries. So if you’d think of
the work of Ed Miguel, or more recently
Amanda Pearson, who argued that states in
Africa that have had a more cohesive nation building
project are also the ones that you see a
more effective provision of social services. And I think, perhaps,
the most neat parallel which I discuss at some
length in the conclusion are the cases of
Quebec and Scotland. Where a strong sense of
subnational solidarity underlies the relatively
generous social policies that you see in both these
regions relative to Canada and the UK. So what I want to end with is
really the policy implication. Because in a world
in which we often have a lot of
hand-wringing, again one of the upshots of
the book– and what was personally
gratifying– is that I think it opens up a relatively
novel and under emphasized set of policy implications. The most clear message, if
there is one from such a book, is that there should
be an intersection between the locus
of social policy and the locus of
social solidarity. So what does this mean? There are debates ongoing
about decentralization. And my argument would be
that you can’t actually make a decision about whether
or not to decentralize. The decision really
depends on what the locus of popular
identification is. So the decision of
whether to delegate power, and to what unit that power
should be de-centralized, is determined by a locus
of popular identification. And also, I think it
opens out into the realms of interventions that happen
not just with literacy drives and vaccination campaigns,
but interventions in the realms of culture. In the arts, in the
sponsorship of state festivals, in the erection of
certain statues. In the renaming of
cities and roads, which are often seen as
wasteful expenditure. I think the book makes
a potential case for how cultural policy and
policy in the arts can actually be an important
driver for subnationalism, which downstream can then
lead to social development. And I’ll stop and open
this up to response. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] The panelists have
been organized in the following manner. First we’ll have a comparativist
speak to us, Andreas. Then we’ll have a saltationist. Then two comparativists–
Peter Hall, who should be here any
moment, and Melani Cammett, and then Sanjay a saltationist. So this is the logic here. We start with Andreas. Thank you. Thank you, Ashu, for
inviting me to this panel. It’s great to be here. And thank you Prerna for
writing such a wonderful book. We all have spent the last
one or two days with it, so we are soaked with your
thoughts and deeply impressed. And you know I felt while I
was coming here that academia is a strange world. We are criticizing each
other nonstop and constantly. The review process, the
tenure review process. We’re such– you know our
whole personalities are kind of formed by that
habit of constant criticism and constant defense. And shouldn’t there be a kind of
a saturnalian reversal of that? There should be an
occasion where we just praise each other. Shower of flowers upon you
and just leave it at that. [LAUGHTER] Not the least because the book
obviously is already written. And also because we need
such a psychological refuge from the constant
exposure to criticism. So I wrote this
kind of comment– [LAUGHTER] –but– and then I reviewed it. And I somehow felt it’s
probably deeply unsatisfactory and you probably
would be bored by it, because you’ve received
all these prizes and so on. And so I thought I’d
do something more in the traditional
wane of, you know, offering praise, and then very
subtle and gentle criticisms. But mostly I would
like to continue in where you ended in
the question of how well your argument
travels beyond India, and beyond the
specific focus that you have of looking at this question
at the subnational level. What happens if we raise your
argument to the country level? Which is extraordinarily
easy to do because all your theoretical
tools, basically, are– would apply equally
to the national level. OK. So let me start with two
elements of mild criticism. It has to do with the
mechanism of how, actually, sub-states nationalism
translates into a welfare provision. And so I was wondering–
so your argument is really, as you explained, based
on the power of identities to shape preferences, and so on. And once an encompassing
identity is shaped, then both political elites and
the voting public at large they start to care
for the public good of the entire community,
and so on and so on. And then the policies
follow from that. I wonder if there’s a
slightly different reading that one can have of that. And I was just
wondering how you would react to that slightly
different reading that would not focus so much on
identity and– you know in the
social-psychological tradition, but more would give a political
sociology interpretation of what you are demonstrating
so brilliantly empirically in your book. And this will go as follows. S at the center might
be not so much identity, but the structure and the
nature of political ties between elites and
non-elites as are mediated through organizations,
through associations, and so on. So it will be more, kind
of, a [INAUDIBLE] style of reading your
empirical evidence where these networks of political
alliances and so on would matter greatly. So could it be that it’s–
what really drives both the emergence of sub-state
nationalisms, on the one hand, and these policies is
that in the states– in Kerala and Tamil Nadu–
you have the establishment of an organizational
political infrastructure– parties and so on– that links
the publication at large across ethnic and caste divides, and
so on, to the emerging political elites? And that this political machines
that emerge in these places were the reason that
you explain in– I think in a very convincing way– both
in encompassing subnational identity emerges. And the political
incentives to overcome classical patronize politics
and embark upon a, you know, a public goods provision program
that is gained at, you know, almost the entire
population emerge. So that will be a different kind
of reading of the same material that we’re– OK. An admitted
variable, as it were. To use it in– use
this terrible language would actually drive– which
is the nature and reach of these political
alliance networks– would drive both the identity
and the welfare provision. And I think one could
read your Rajasthan case study as– in support of that. Because the sub-state
national identity did emerge in the– you know I
forgot the details– in the 60’s– or 50’s or 60’s. But it didn’t go
anywhere because the organizational tools,
the [INAUDIBLE] networks and so on were not there
to actually then produce a mass national identification
and the corresponding public policies. It’s only when the BJP
emerged on the scene that this organizational
infrastructure was provided. And then it produced both
the mass identification with the state and the
corresponding public policy. So your Rajasthan case
I think would actually– is the only one that
could be a critical test case for this kind of argument. And it seems to support that. So the second point
I want to make is more an extension,
or a suggestion, to slightly
complexify– I know this is the most unpopular
comments always to make things more
complex, because you have done such a brilliant job
to explain these complex things in easy terms. And your model is
really parsimonious. And it has some,
you know, there’s a real beauty to the
simplicity of your argument. It seems to me,
however, that when I read through your case
studies that the argument that elite nationalism,
subset nationalism, and mass identification
with these units precede the provision
with welfare is not actually
that well supported. It seems to me that in your
two positive cases– in Kerala and in Tamil Nadu– that
mass identification actually came with these, and as
a consequence of these– of the emergence
of these policies. So that you have the usual. You know in one of the strands
in the study of nationalism is– you mention
that briefly I think in the– one of
the chapters– is that popular identification
with a nation is a consequence of public
goods provision by the emerging nationalist regimes and so on. It seems that this story
is at least in part confirmed there as well, so
that your actual analysis would have to be a little
bit more complex. It would have to
have a positive. You would have to admit that
there’s not a total exogenous relationship between the
emergence of nationalism and provision with
public service. But there is kind of
a feedback loop back from provision with public
goods to nationalism. OK. I don’t know– how
much time do I have? 2 minutes. Oh, so let me– OK. Let me make a suggestion of
how to enlarge this study, or have to carry it into a
more global comparative field. I think this– it would be
wonderful if you could do that. If you could use this powerful
argument that you have developed where you have
such convincing evidence for the Indian case. You could take this
and try to project it onto the global scene. And there’s a couple
things that one could do. I mean one of the first
things that you would have to do probably
is to discuss alternative causal pathways
to public goods provision. And it just seems to me that
class based collective identity is– you know communism and
so on– was a hugely, just in terms of public
goods provision, hugely successful
alternative way of how this can be
done without really that much nationalism involved. So if you look at the
literacy campaigns in China, in Russia, in Vietnam,
and so on where illiteracy levels were
just bumped up dramatically within a couple of years
through military style campaigns and so on. So all of this was done
with different ideological motivation. So maybe you would have to
enlarge your argument and say, it’s not just nationalism. It can also be other
kinds of large scale collective identities that
do the same trick– have the same consequences. And then secondly some
observable implications for the country level that
your argument would have. One is federal
states should have more subnational–
sub-state nationalism, because such states often emerge
because they already exist. You know deep
provincial identities and so on, and so on. Or these deep identity–
provincial identities might be the consequence
of federal arrangements. In any case, whatever
the causal pathways are, federal states should
be better on aggregate at providing public goods
to the citizens than others. So that’s an easy to test,
actually globally test, argument. A second slightly different
observable implication if you extend your argument
to the global level, would be that countries that
have more nationalism or not national identification
should be those that also should
have better public service provisions. So I did– just because I
have become a horrible data positivist, recently
I just thought, well, let me just do a quick and
dirty check of these two hypotheses for you. So I recently
assembled the data set on the basis of
various surveys– Euro barometer, Afro
barometer, all the barometers, [? roll ?] value survey,
the ISS, and so on. That has all these
surveys ask one question. How proud are you
of your country? That’s a really stupid
question, but it’s asked in 123 countries
around the world. So that’s pretty good. And– so let’s just
take this– right– as a measurement of levels
of national identification. And then I see
where that somehow is related to literacy
rates or infant mortality. Your– both of your
measurements [INAUDIBLE]. And unfortunately, it doesn’t. There’s nothing there. And I guess you must
have already done that, otherwise there would
be a chapter in your book. So I was wondering, just,
what’s going on there? Bad measurements? Or one would have to
do it differently? Would you have to
modify your argument and say, it’s in certain
phases of development, the early stages, that this
nationalism collective identity triggers these kind
of social policy. And then maybe the nationalism
can then wither away later on. And there’s a path dependency
effect on service provision, or something like that. But I think you would
have to deal with that. And the same if I do
a preliminary test and look at federal
states– and there’s all kinds of measurements
of federalism and so on– and use the same two
outcome measures. Then, unfortunately, it’s
the same non resolved. So that’s not a
criticism of your book, because that’s not
what you’re doing. But it’s just an
encouragement for you to actually take this
interesting and novel and exciting argument to an
entirely different level and see what you can do
with it if you do that. Thanks. Thank you, Andreas. Thanks, Irfan. [INAUDIBLE]. I’m going to stand. OK. Well, thank you Ashu
for this invitation. Thank you to the Center
for Contemporary South Asia at Brown. Congratulations. As we try and build something
similar at Georgetown, we look to Brown for
inspiration that it can be done at such a high level. So thank you very much. My name is Irfan Nooruddin. I’m a professor at Georgetown
University in the School of Foreign Service. And it’s a real
pleasure to be here. Brown has been a
remarkably generous host. In fact, the only
inhospitable features are Prerna wrote too good
a book, thereby making us have to work way too hard. Next time, Prerna, less,
less, less, please. [LAUGHTER] So I find myself in the
position of, you know, coming to New England and as
a– for a football commentator having to having to criticize
Tom Brady for throwing too many touchdowns
while looking way too pretty at the same time. And but I’ll try nonetheless
to offer something by way off feedback. One of my– you know
for those of you who are PhD students here
you’ll maybe identify with this. As a first year graduate
student attending Job Talks I was always very
struck by the fact that the talks that I
fundamentally thought were the weakest my
faculty mentors seem to not ask hard questions. And the ones that I
thought were the best, they would punch as
hard as they could. Until you realize that
the real mark of respect in an intellectual community
is to punch as hard as you can, because you think the
person can take it. So with that, I will do my
best to live up to that. Let me start by just
saying one of the things that I love most about this
book before I think of– suggest a few things that
it made me think about. What I love most
about this book is that it is not
shy about engaging in literatures that are
typically not engaged in comparative politics. And the one that I was
most excited to see is a really deep engagement
with political psychology, which strikes me as the one place
where American politics has made gains on the rest
of political science. That are maybe a full
generation ahead. That most political scientists
working in comparative politics are still political
behavioralists, maybe. Often they’re political
institutionalists, but they’re very rarely
political psychologists. And I think Prerna
shows in this book how a deep reading of
political psychology can really change how
we think and theorize in comparative politics. In that sense, it’s a model for
all of us doing work in this. The particular object of study
of course is nationalism. And so I’m– this book makes me
think of another sort of recent memory. Ashu and I were sitting
in Bombay in January at the [INAUDIBLE]. And looking out–
you know for those who’ve been in
Bombay, all the way in South Bombay
looking at that bay. And Ashu pointed out–
he looks out the window and he says, soon there
will be a 250 foot statue of Shivaji right in
the middle of that– right, of the ruling party. If the ruling elites
get their way, they will have this big old
statue of Shivaji over there. And in that they will
further the subnationalism, I would argue, of the
state of Maharashtra. Both our airports are now
called– named for Shivaji. A very confusing thing if you’re
trying to direct a taxi driver, I should add. The train– the train
station’s named for him. The zoo is named for his mother. [LAUGHTER] Right? The museum is named for him. Right? I mean it’s a deep
subnationalism. And until now I’ve
been pretty ungrateful for all this renaming
in the name of Shivaji. Whereas Prerna suggested
maybe I should see the bright side of all of this. I have a hard time seeing the
bright side of all of that, and here’s why. For me Prerna’s book is overly
defensive of the virtues of nationalism. Right? And this is a very
generous nationalism. It is a nationalism
that is able to see within its borders a unifying
framework, a reason for unity and for generosity, even to
those who might not aspire to that same nationalism. And for me this sets at odds
with my reading of Maharashtra. That is as someone who is
not, I guess, Maharasthran. My father’s from [? Lucknow. ?]
My mother’s from Goa. My father’s Muslim. My mother’s Catholic. Right? There was no part of
Marathi nationalism that I particularly
feel welcome in. And a move to moving
schools, for instance, to Marathi media to
encouraging– to actually beating up reporters who
want to write in English. To criticizing authors who
want to write in English, even if they’re sitting in
a city like Bombay. Strikes me, at odds with
the sort of reading off subnationalism as being one
in which you would invest in public goods that
would benefit anyone living within your borders,
even if they are not in fact part of your subnation. Right? But the [INAUDIBLE]–
which is the, you know, the flag bearer for subMarathi
nationalism in Maharasthra– doesn’t pretend to want to do
nice things for the Biharis and the UP’s and others who they
see as outsiders living within the state of Maharashtra. But what we have
to believe if you we are to believe
Prerna’s argument is that the subnational
elites that are ruling would be willing to
invest in public goods even if those public goods
benefit those who are not, in fact, part of
their identity group. I’m not quite sure about
how to think about that. And again– so think of
Gujarat, another state in which subnationalism
is arguably quite high. And yet we know increasingly
that Muslim minorities within Gujarat– just
as Gujarati in a sense have Hindu Gujaratis,
right- have economic and social
outcomes that are far, far worse than their
Hindu counterparts in Gujarat. Think of the US South. If I were to think of
the United States today, I would argue that the US South
is a place where subnationalism still lives. Right? The South shall rise again,
if they are to be believed. Right? White Christian
nationalism is something that we are reckoning
with in this election. What would the expectations be
in the contexts of this book? We would expect in
Mississippi and Alabama should be investing in public
education and public health– right– as a benefit
to the citizen. And yet that does not sit right
with our reading of the data in the United States. So I think thinking, without
throwing the baby out with the bathwater,
the evidence here is persuaded as
subnationalism can lead to particular
positive outcomes, especially in the states
like Kerala and Tamil Nadu. But asking why they
were able to overcome their exclusionary impulses
that are also deeply embedded within nationalism is
work that I don’t think is done satisfactorily
in this book. And would be a great extension
for someone picking up on these rich ideas
to move forward. Here’s another. We know, I think from a
lot of ethnographic work that caste of course
operates very differently all across India. But that caste is no less
pernicious and no less exclusionary in the South
than it is in the North. In fact, in many ways it is
much more rigid in the South than it is in the North. Right? And yet again over here
the subnational elites are expected to overcome
their caste prejudices, their caste [? piousies ?]
to build public health and public education systems
that should serve poor, lower caste Keralites as well as they
serve upper class, upper caste Keralites. And the same in Tamil Nadu. Why that would be so–
even if the data suggests it might be so. Why that is so is
not obvious to me from the reading of this book. Moving on then. So that’s a big idea. Right? My single big contribution
to this conversation. But here’s a couple
of smaller ones. If you look at the data
carefully– of course and Prerna’s cognizant of this. It’s true in all the maps. The North versus South
dichotomy is striking. Right? The South is– does
better on every dimension of human development
and social development. There are a couple of odd
exceptions every so often if you look at the
below the mean, above the mean comparisons,
but– especially in chapter 6, which is
a cross India chapter. But for the most part
all the good outcomes, including all the high
subnationalism states, are in the South,
relative to in the North. And I wonder over
here whether that’s because, in a very strange
way, the North won? In that Delhi becomes the
locus of their identification. In some sense India,
[? Gujarat ?], right, becomes the national identity,
such that in the South they have to define themselves
in contravention to Delhi nationalism. Whereas to be, sort of,
Bihari nationalist, so UP nationalist when in fact
Delhi is right there– right– makes very little sense. It doesn’t seem
to me that that’s how you would think about it. Because in some sense
the Hindi heartland is India in their conception. This is, of course, the major
challenge facing the BJP. Right? Which is as a party that now
aspires to be pan Indian. It is still
identified as a party of the North with very
little presence in the South, though that’s changing. And so I wonder whether
the subnational argument is in some sense actually
a story about federalism. And a story about federalism in
which the North is seen to win, and so the South has to
define itself differently. In this reading of course
Rajasthan becomes puzzling. And so I’m building on
something Andreas said. Why the BJP– right–
and an ostensibly Hindu nationalist party that
aspires to one India would ever want to use the logic
of subnationalism defeats me. Right? Other than that, in fact,
to talk about subnationalism in Rajasthan is not inconsistent
with a muscular nationalism of a Delhi [? variety. ?] In the same way that
[INAUDIBLE] sort of to be proud to be from
Haryana in today’s world– right– would not
be in contravention to the BJP’s larger
goals of ruling India in a very
particular sort of rubric. Whereas to be proud of being
from Tamil Nadu or from Kerala would in fact be to run counter
to the broader BJP agenda. So you know there’s
not South– BJP role in this I think
is one that I’d love to see more thinking on. Two small points
before I conclude. For a book that is
very aggressively keen on building a top down
and a bottom up understanding of how we think about
the politics of welfare, I do think that if I
would offer one critique it would be that it’s not
particularly institutional. In some ways it’s an
a-institutional politics. Now of course part
of the benefit of a subnational
comparison is that you control for institutions. These are all largely–
you know they all work under the same political
electoral institutions. I’ve made this case
in work that I’ve done that Prerna very
generously cites. I should say that my
first instinct was to flip to chapter 6 to
see whether the coefficient of party systems was
the way it should be. It was. [LAUGHTER] Then I relaxed and read
the rest of the book. [LAUGHTER] Otherwise this would have been
a very different presentation. [LAUGHTER] But, OK, so let’s
think about which institutions would
have been, kind of, interesting to think about. I mean the one that’s
missing over here is in fact the process
that led to the States being the locus of power. If there was a single citation
in a book that is very, very generous in its citations–
is there’s a single citation missing over here. It citations to [? Chilburn ?]
Coleman’s work on the formation of national party systems. Right? Both the APSR article and
the 2004 Princeton University Press book in which in
a comparison of the US, Canada, UK, and India. They point out that in India the
fact that the federal structure made the States
the locus of power meant that political activity
had to center around it. Taken to its logical
extension in the context of this book, that means that in
fact the federal structure made subnationalism incentive
[? compatible. ?] Now this is very consistent
with the argument over here. These are– what I love
about Prerna’s book is that she says [? either ?]
this is not nationalism that is born from magic. Right? This is nationalism that is a
creation of political elites playing a particular game. But this is also in the context
of the federal arrangements that are related to
the welfare spending that she seeks to explain. In that sense,
like any big book, right, there’s a knot over
here that I’m not sure, that in spite of
her best efforts, she satisfactorily disentangles
as to which comes first and which comes later. And the federal
institutions in particular would have been interesting. Parties are another
institution that I think don’t get enough
play in this book. It strikes me that the
subnational parties have a much easier time
in some sense thinking about party unity and party
discipline, because they don’t aspire to be national parties. Whereas for any national party–
right– to be subnational is to undermine itself
in its national agenda. And so you have this really
push and pull dimension that I think is
underexposed here. Let me end with a positive. Maybe one for conversation. If in fact the South has done
as well as it has– and we know it has. It’s a matter of fact. One of the empirical
puzzles that is not dealt with in this book–
and it’s beyond the scope. So that’s not a
criticism, but maybe something to think about– is
why the South experiences just as high electoral volatility and
anti incumbency as the North. Tamil Nadu, of course,
being the canonical example. I mean every election leads
to a reversal of fortunes for the DMK or the ADMK. Go all the way back. Right. In every single
election the party– there is alternation in power. Right? In other words, the politics
of this is puzzling. In that the same
subnational politics that leads to good
welfare spending, that leads to this creation of
positive health and education outcomes, is not rewarded
at the polls in ways that I don’t know
how to think about. And I don’t just that Prerna–
though Prerna is clearly among the smartest
people in this room– should be the one to tell us the
answer to this in her response. It is one that I think
we need to think about harder as a result of the
questions and ideas raised in this book. But in conclusion,
Prerna congratulations. I look forward to the
other commentators and to the conversation. [APPLAUSE] Well, I’m really
delighted to be here. Thank you, Ashu, for including
me in this esteemed panel. And congratulations
on the Center. And Prerna– this is the
year of Prerna Singh, or maybe the
decade, or whatever. So I’m delighted
to be part of this. And really excited to celebrate
all of your successes, and to praise you endlessly. So I have a lot of
praise, actually. And I hadn’t quite thought
of it as criticism. It was more framed in my mind
as, ah, all the questions that have been opened
up for further research. But I suppose they
dovetail nicely with some of the
other comments, so we can think of them as
constructive criticism as we move the agenda forward. So first of all it really
is an unbelievable read. It’s– I’ve been reading this
book for a while actually. Because I followed
Prerna’s work closely and I was part of this book
conference a number– about five years ago. And I learned so much from
reading the manuscript then, and it’s even better now. And the first thing I want
to say, you know without– is that of course it’s
a fantastic argument. It’s well delivered
and so forth. But I also want to point to the
beautiful use of mixed methods here. And I think that’s
really important to recognize in– at least
for political scientists. Because it’s a really excellent
application of mixed methods research that’s
very conscientious. And the different methods
complementary to each other throughout the book. They’re very well integrated. The historical analysis
is really fantastic. It’s not sort of
tacked on at the end as some people who
get away with calling their work mixed methods do. It really is genuinely mixed
methods, and of the best form. So it deserves lots
of praise for that. And there’s a
number of– you know the book is very conscientious
about anticipating and either refuting or qualifying
alternative arguments. I’m particularly
interested in the focus on speaking against the
diversity deficit argument. Which I know is a
big research agenda that Prerna has going forward,
and a very, very important one. Showing that even places
that are fractionalized by some measures can deliver
well for their people, and really unpacking
how this works. So I think that’s
very important. So let me focus on a
couple of what I think are the core strengths here. And then build off
of where I think things need to be
further developed, and where there’s room for
further research going forward. So first as the title
of the book says there’s a lot of focus on
the how– how solidarity works for welfare. And I think that’s
really important. Because we know already
from existing literature that Prerna cites that
there is already a sense that solidarity of some form
facilitates better delivery of public goods or
other good outcomes. That insight has
already been made. I think the real
contribution is pushing the mechanisms and the origins
of these– of identities, of shared identities. So I– you know this focus I
guess a little bit more heavily on the elites is– you know
lays out a number of mechanisms, that I don’t need to
reiterate, that you can read about in the book
that are quite convincing. And then there’s this
bottom up component that Irfan alluded
to that really builds on insights from
social psychology that I think is quite valuable. Especially the– what’s the
term– emotional arousal. These kinds of arguments. And I think that opens up
a really exciting research agenda that could be one area
where this is pushed further. And some of the observable
implications of the argument could be developed further. And I think actually
Prerna’s already started to do this in a recent article. And others are going in
this direction as well. So as I was reading this I was
thinking, you know in some ways I’m inspired. In some ways I’m
really depressed. I work on the Middle
East and North Africa. This is a place with very
politicized identities. I don’t think I need to
tell you this if you open the newspaper on a daily basis. Or you know I guess we don’t
open newspapers anymore. If you look at the
headlines on your tablet. So you know- so
this made me start thinking about you know
where did these shared identities always lead to
inclusive social policies even in places with strong states? And that I want to come
back to, because that’s a scope condition that’s
clearly laid out in the book. The need for central state
capacity that I think is a big asterisk. And so Prerna’s right to flag
that as a scope condition, but I think it’s
something that we need to look at
further because it qualifies where this
argument is going to apply. So let’s bracket the
issue of state capacity. But also let’s say we
have a shared identity. Let’s say we have amenable
central state capacity. Are these shared
subnational identities, even if they’re not
religious or ethnic? OK. So the better kind of shared
identity that’s bridging. Right? Is it always going
to lead to this kind of shared sense of community
that promotes redistribution? I think others have
made this point already. But I wonder whether there’s
something about the nature of those identities. I don’t know if it’s
an ideological argument or what it might
be, but if there’s something about the
nature of the content of the identity that’s being
advanced that promotes this. And so I remember way back
when Daniel [? Zimblat ?] at our conference said,
well, what about Texas? I think the comment
today was– what? Mississippi or– so
I wonder whether you know– I mean I haven’t
looked at the data. But my gut feeling is that
Texans feel really Texan. And so do those Texan Texans
want to share with each other? I don’t know. Or is the ideology around this
more about pulling yourself up by the bootstraps? So are there
different conditions under which shared
subnational identities get channeled in one
direction versus another? I think that’s an
interesting question. And you’ve shown me
convincingly that this can be the case, for sure. So this also makes me think
about contextual factors. Recently I was on a round
table on a World Bank report that’s called “Making
Politics Work for Development.” So the World Bank has
discovered politics. And– [LAUGHTER] And that’s great. I think that’s really great. But it was a really
fascinating panel to be on, because it raised
a 1,001 questions about, what kind of politics? Where? Under what conditions? All this kind of stuff. And as Prerna notes– I mean
you actually have some nice footnotes in there to all the
literature that’s– or much of the literature that’s cited
in this very World Bank report. You know the evidence is mixed
about when social services are delivered effectively, and the
role of social accountability, and so forth. And so this made me wonder
whether there’s something about specific places that
make the delivery of services or the identity more likely
to emerge effectively? Is it the emotional arousal
that activates this? Or is there only
some places where this is more likely to occur? I think this dovetails
nicely with Andreas’ comment about you know certain features
of civil society organizations, or the sort of
nature of politics. So a couple– I know I only
have a couple of minutes left. But I think there’s also
some interesting implications for policy making. And this is where I started
you know taking these arguments and thinking, well,
if we’re looking at these horrible
places in the world where people are killing each
other in the name of religion or ethnicity right now– and
we know they haven’t always been doing that. There’s something about
politics that have politicized these identities. You know what lessons can
we draw from this book to maybe suggest ways forward? And so the bad news
that I took away from reading the book based
on that scope condition is it seems that you need some
state capacity for all of this to work. And so that points
us to this, you know, sort of elusive
quest– maybe not elusive. But this, you
know, age old quest for where do capable
states come from? And I think that’s a
complimentary research agenda here that needs
to be attended to. And it seems that the
subnational identities, these bridging
subnational identities, work best when they are in a
regulated framework like that. So even if you get
the identity, they have to play out in a particular
institutional context. The other issues that
were raised for me in terms of going
forward you know you could interpret
as possibly good news. But also potentially depressing,
depending on how you spin it. So on the one hand
Prerna clearly breaks with essentialist readings
of ethnic politics. And you know this is of course
where scholars are as well. But these seem to be
ideas that hang on in sort of journalistic and
policy making communities, and make policy makers
want to do things like divide up territories
along ethnic or religious lines. And so the question
is, in these places where religion, where ethnicity
is so deeply politicized, how do you get to fostering
a subnational identity? Are there– and this then
comes back to the question of, do these subnational
identities emerge under particular contexts,
under particular– in particular world historical moments? So is this an argument
that is deeply path dependent, historically
rooted, and you really can’t manipulate it? So building the statues,
and promoting the art exhibitions and so forth
won’t resonate in some places. It simply won’t work. Are there features of
the political terrain or social terrain that make
these kinds of interventions more effective in
some places or others? And so I’m left
thinking that we have to cut into the causal
chain and the feedback loop that you identify
in these contexts and start to build
the identities through the public
goods provision first. And so under these context that
seems to me a more likely way to cut in to then
perhaps promote some kind of
collective identity. And then have the feedback
loop start in the other– you know begin then only later
with the subnational identity. So thank you very much for
the privilege of having to read this book closely. And it was just fantastic. Congratulations. [APPLAUSE] Our next speaker is Peter Hall. He is not here. So sorry, Peter, the transit
was not more agreeable. But 95 and 93 have this odd
quality at any time of the day. So Peter, you have 12 minutes. And I’ll– after 10 minutes
I’ll show you a two minute sign. OK. Thanks very much. Can I speak from here? Is that all right? Can you hear me if
I speak from here? I’m very sorry to be late. A cab that didn’t come, then
a train that didn’t come. I’m lucky that I’m not still
standing in a substation. And Prerna, so I planned
to be here an hour early. I was half an hour late. Prerna probably planned
to finish the book a year earlier than she did. These things happen. In the case of the book, it
was worth the wait, though. I’m not sure about my comments. [LAUGHTER] Because as my colleagues
here have described, Prerna has written an
extraordinary book. I really think it is. It’s deeply researched. It’s inventively argued. And I think it represents
an intervention of profound importance
into contemporary debates about the welfare state,
and about the sources of social well-being
more generally. So others– and I heard
a little bit of this. I’m sorry to have
missed some of it– are better placed
here to position this within Indian politics. I want to say a few
things about how I see the place of this book
in the context of some broader issues in comparative politics. And so one way–
and I think there’s a little bit of repetition
in what I’m planning to say with what I’ve heard. But at least I’ll say some
of it a wee bit differently. So one way to situate this book,
I think, is as an intervention into a longstanding
set of debates about the relationship between
the politics of identity and the politics
of redistribution. And one entry point into
that debate, of course, is the lovely little set
of essays by Nancy Fraser and Axel Honneth called a
Recognition or Redistribution? A book I recommend to anyone. So as the title of
their book implies, many scholars suspect that
a politics oriented [? to ?] social identities,
which in this country is certainly a feature of the
politics of the past 30 years. Politics of social identity
is inimical to a politics that promotes redistribution. And I don’t know,
Andreas, I think I didn’t hear what
you had to say. I don’t know if you
said this, perhaps, but you easily could have. And that is a
plausible position. And of course there’s
a deeper pedigree for that proposition
in the venerable view that socialism on the one hand
and nationalism on the other are natural political
antagonists. The former vehicle
for social progress, and the latter a
powerful reactionary force that stands in the
way of such progress. A force that empties class
based politics of its force in the name of pursuing
superordinate national ideals. And that is not a
silly view, I think. I think it captures a
good deal of the variance, if you like, in the politics
of Europe, certainly. Which is what I know most
about since the 19th century. But of course as we know
Prerna challenges this view. She argues– more effectively
I think than anyone else I know has– that nationalism can be
a vehicle for social justice. It’s not always a
reactionary force. And in this I think
she’s correct. And if there were time I could
cite a number of European cases that I think more or less
tend to support this view. Including those of Sweden
where social democratic leaders of the 1930’s
harnessed a nationalism built on the concept
of the people’s home to their own movement
for social justice. In effect creating a
kind of national ideal. A kind of nationalism that has
this progressive– socially progressive
character that Prerna sees in some Indian states. We might also think of Denmark,
whose welfare state is probably linked both to a particular
kind of Danish nationalism and to the central role
also that localities play in the delivery
of social services. And I think this last point
about the possible role of federalism here
is quite a good one. I was reminded reading the book
again of Jeremy Ferwerda, who is at Dartmouth, has written
an MIT dissertation called the ‘Politics of Proximity.” In which he uses quite a bit
of evidence to show that, contrary to some conventional
views, when jurisdiction over social spending
is decentralized to the local level
spending tends to become more generous
rather than less generous. And I think that
Prerna has a logic that might help to explain that. So solidarity matters. Solidarity matters. And nationalism
or subnationalism can be a vehicle for
forging solidarity. But is nationalism
always solidaristic? And is it sufficiently
solidaristic? And of course
those are questions that have been asked
by the panelists. I think they’re the
questions this book raises. And in her very
sophisticated account, Prerna raises these
issues as well. But not surprisingly,
the book doesn’t really entirely resolve them. And I think in that
respect it opens up, as others have said, an
important research agenda. So at the heart of that agenda
is the question as I see it, under what conditions
is nationalism a force for enhancing
social well being? And under what
conditions might it be an impediment to that end? And for the sake
of provocation, let me close by pointing to three
features of the argument that I think might
provide a starting point for this discussion. These overlap,
but not completely with what has been said before. The first one of the clear
implications of the book is that social
progressives who hope to substitute for nationalism
a kind of cosmopolitanism– akin maybe to the
constitutional patriotism that Robert Moss talks about
and urges on the Europeans– those who hope that
dedication to human rights and cosmopolitan ideals
will be the vehicle for social progress. The book tends to suggest
that’s wrong, in my view. At a minimum– it
doesn’t say that. But at a minimum it suggests
that those aspirations– those who have those
aspirations are pushing in the wrong direction. And I regret that, but I
think Prerna is probably right about that. I could say more, if there
is time in discussion. So instead of thinking
about nationalism as a reactionary force,
I think progressives have to figure out how to
harness it to their purposes. And we learn something about
how to do that in this book. I think it actually says
a good deal about that. And I know that this must be
a correct point, because even Larry Summers has
recently called for what he calls a prudent nationalism. And I think that poses– in the
face of the contemporary revolt against globalization
that many of us see in politics around
the Western world. And that’s– those
are dangerous words, but they’re words that intersect
with this book in a sense. But will a progressive social
action fit into this harness? And this is my second point. Will national– can
nationalism really be harnessed to that end? Well, Prerna quotes
Sam Huntington in the book who says,
and these are his words, “We know who we are only
when we know who we are not. And often only when we
know whom we are against.” But while acknowledging this
point, on my reading at least part, Prerna dismisses this
weighty comment rather lightly. And I think it’s important that
where subnationalism developed in India, it was developed
by parties and groups that were challenging dominant
political elites. In other words, it was part and
parcel of a social conflict. It was part and
parcel of a politics of friends and enemies. It wasn’t Kumbaya, we’re
all in it together. Even beneficent
subnationalism was built on a politics of
friends and enemies. And I think one might say
the same of the socially progressive nationalism
that Prerna finds and cites in Quebec, where I was
born, or in Scotland where my wife was born. In each of these cases,
there were and are clear cut enemies against whom these
subnationalisms are pitched. And against which they arose. And in the case of
Quebec at least one of the side effects
of this has been a far from progressive attitude
toward the migrants who seek to enter that society. And I fear that
the same might also be said of Denmark
in similar terms. In short, I think we can’t
embrace subnationalism as a progressive
force until we come to grips with what is indeed its
dark side, as others have said. And then finally– although
Prerna knows a lot more about this than I do, and so
do a number of other people in this room– I
want to take issue with some passages in
the conclusion, which suggest that analyzes
that acknowledge the importance of
subnationalism stand in contradistinction to
rationalist approaches in politics. So there’s a kind of
anti-rationalist turn in the conclusion. And far be it from me the– I
think that’s a terrible thing. To some extent I think that
her arguments do challenge and modify rationalist views. I’m partly on her side here. But in those passages,
on my reading at least, she suggests that
the political elites who fashioned these
subnationals– and that’s a crucial thing. These subnationalisms are
political constructions. And I would want to
emphasize that in part to answer this question about,
when can nationalism be useful and when not? Well, this is a nationalism
harnessed to movements for social justice. And on my reading
of European history, that’s where a good deal of the
positive solidarity comes from. It doesn’t come from
nationalism per se of one sort or another– ethnic,
or civic, or otherwise. It comes from
political movements that have as a core basis a
struggle for social justice. And I think Prerna finds
that in India as well. But the political elites who
fashioned these subnationalisms she argues, if I’m reading
this right, in the conclusion did so largely for
effective motives. That is, because of the
other regarding motives that subnationalism
can intensify. And to my mind, that bit–
it’s just a little bit– is at odds with the
earlier narrative accounts in the book in which
insurgent political leaders are said to promote
subnationalism as a vehicle for their [? aside ?]
in these conflicts with dominant political elites. So I find the latter
a convincing account that shows that
politicians can often promote progressive policies out
of a certain sense of electoral and other self interest. So I’m more than willing
to see social solidarity as a basis for popular
support for progressive social policies. I think it is. I think this book makes that
argument more effectively than any other. But I would be
reluctant to explain the actions of politicians
entirely, or even largely, in those other regarding terms. So I think Prerna
is right to argue that subnationalism
is an important basis for social solidarity. And social solidarity,
this important basis for progressive social policies. But let’s not forget
how prominently those familiar
features of politics, intense political conflict,
and the play of self-interest nonetheless reveal themselves
in the processes of this book. [APPLAUSE] [INAUDIBLE] Thank you very much, indeed. It’s a wonderful thing for me
to be present here on this day. Which is, I had not
fully appreciated before, has the double quality
of being not only a celebration of Prerna’s really
excellent book– as everyone has emphasized
before me– but also the inauguration of the
Center for Contemporary South Asia at Brown,
which is overdue. And will of course bring
about many good things for the study and discussion
of South Asia here. So we’ll have, I understand,
later occasion today to celebrate that. So let me shift to
focusing on Prerna’s book. And in the same
spirit as others, I will both appreciate it
and be critical to a degree. But that critically is
itself an appreciation, as I’m sure that she
would fully realize. Let me start by noting
that as a fellow traveler of the human
development approach, in some broad sense of the term,
one of the things that I have always felt was sorely
lacking in the discussion of human development– and
I think many others also felt was quite lacking–
was a suitable literature on the political economy
of human development. And in particular, an
explanation of comparative outcomes of human development
over time and space. The discovery of
explanatory outliers– or rather outliers that
demand explanation, which Jean Dreze and Amartya
Sen, among others, have drawn our attention to is,
after all, only a beginning. The real task is to
explain how and why it is that cases or countries,
countries or states come to be outliers. Or indeed why the regression
line of which they are outliers is constituted in the
particular way it is. And this is quintessentially
a problem in political economy and in institutional analysis. It could never have
been, never was a problem simply in economics,
much as some people tried to approach it in that way. And so perhaps,
it’s not surprising that we did not have
adequate illumination of the issues involved
until such a literature has begun to emerge quite recently. And I would say that Prerna’s
book is absolutely important landmark in that emergence. Now like others, I would
like to very much appreciate and acknowledge Prerna’s
use of mixed methods of different kinds in a truly
synthetic and integrative way, which constitutes to my mind
a kind of transdisciplinarity. It represents the introduction
into political science of diverse and free use,
within a disciplinary context, of diverse methods which–
and forms of insight, which have their origins elsewhere. Whether it is econometric
analysis of a certain sort or the psychology of identity. And this is right, because
Prerna’s allegiance is to understanding. Not to a specific interpretation
of the axioms of her discipline or the boundaries within
which she is meant to remain, but toward understanding
the problem at hand. And in this respect
I think she’s really traveled the royal road that
any social scientist– quote unquote scientist– ought to do. And she is scientific as
much as anyone I think has been within this domain. Let me now raise some
substantive issues. Peter Hall has already
pointed to the question of the role of rationality. I would put the
problem a little bit differently, as I think she does
herself at points in the book. She refers to the role
of instrumental and non-instrumental
reasons, explicitly citing Baber in this regard. And I think that her
book and her argument is a very good illustration of
the way in which instrumental and non-instrumental factors
in politics and in society. Motivational factors are
very important to understand many phenomena. But I would suggest
that– and here I’m perhaps in sympathy with some
of the other commentators– much as there is a need to
correct the scales by giving greater attention to
the non-instrumental, there is also a need to
give an appropriate place to the instrumental
in the account. And I will say something
more about this momentarily. Let me, by way of approaching
that further comment, make a remark about
methodology, about which Prerna is extremely aware. I would say much more than
most social scientists. The methodological self-scrutiny
is woven through the book. But I would like to
ask, does she really provide an explanation
of the outcome that she proposes to explain? What is an
explanation after all? This is a rather deep question. The difficulty that I see
substantively in her case is that the idea of we-ness. That we must as a community
provide for certain needs that exist within
our community, based upon a suitably extensive and
extended understanding of who we are. Could not straightforwardly
provide the explanation for the outcome that
is of concern, in so far as it is the very idiom
of mobilizational activity in a collective context, to
use a language of we-ness. Let me give you a specific
example to make this problem a little bit concrete
from Dreze and Sen. They point out that
the biggest extensions in life expectancy in the UK–
and also in other countries– were realized during
the world wars. And the reason for this is that
the collective mobilization that took place– respectively
during the first and second world wars– made
possible the articulation of a concept of the we,
which was not previously possible in politics. And the implementation of
certain institutional reforms, in particular in the
health sector, that brought about
tremendous improvements in a very short period of time. So the idea of the
we is something that comes about as a result
of collective mobilization, as much as it is the
cause of the outcomes of that collective mobilization. It’s part and parcel
of that process. So I’m not sure how
to think about this– or whether one can
think entirely favorably about the idea that
the we comes first. And it constitutes a prime
mover or an explanation. Let me make this
further concrete by introducing the idea
of cumulative causation. It seems to me that on
Prerna’s own account in many of the cases which
she delves into deeply in her book– and
other Indian cases that she doesn’t delve into
deeply– perhaps as well there is a kind of
cumulative causation at work. We certainly know this from the
history of European countries, of the United States,
and many other instances around the world. That public schooling,
for instance, provides the crucial
substrate within which the idea of we-ness emerges. In this very institution,
Oded Galore, an economist, has spent a great number
of years referring to the role of human
capital in the process of cumulative
causation facilitating potentially– human capital
acquisition and accumulation in a process of cumulative
causation bringing about potentially
unlimited growth. Or so he argues. So the process of
cumulative causation can take place both with
respect to identitarian and economic or
other causal factors. Let me point to some
interesting cases that Prerna does not
discuss as deeply as she could perhaps from India
that draw attention to these concerns. In her most– possibly
most fascinating figure, which is on page 208, which
shows the trend over time of subnationalism in
different states in India, it is evident that there
are a number of states which have seen ascending
indices of subnationalism over time. And this– these
include not Tamil Nadu, a case that she looks at, but
Rajasthan, Punjab, Maharashtra, and Assam. And Punjab and
Maharashtra if I recall are also states which enjoy
relatively high levels of social development within
her– within her tables. These very much look like
instances, therefore, in which subnationalism
doesn’t come first, but it emerges over time. And it helps to consolidate
social achievements, which in turn help to consolidate it. There are, by the way,
other interesting cases to behold in that table. Including Haryana
and Madhya Pradesh which go the other way around. And maybe these are
instances of states with failed
implementation of we-ness which experience a lesser
sense of we-ness over time as a result. And then of course
very interestingly there are Gujarat
and West Bengal which, although they may
be above the mean in terms of social achievement,
are no great achievers in that respect. But both enjoy relatively
high levels of subnationalism according to her index. Perhaps I shouldn’t
use the word enjoy. Both possess. Since I’m running
out of time, let me end with a point
about the econometrics, since I’m also an economist. I think it’s very notable that
her regression analyzes are quite successful in
terms of explaining quite a large proportion
of the variation. But at the same time
neither subnationalism nor other particularly obvious
explanatory variables which one normally reaches
for, such as income, appear individually to explain
a great part of the variation which is observed. So this is evidently a
fundamentally multi-causal phenomenon. Prerna has chosen not to
use state fixed effects because she has
recognized that doing so will mop up quite a lot of
the variation among states and make it possibly
more difficult for her to make her case. But of course one
could ask the question as to whether by dropping
those altogether, she is in fact lumping
together with subnationalism the role of many other factors
which in fact play a role. Perhaps the states that get
their act together over time are simply those which appear
to get their act together over time in this framework. John Donne, I understand,
was one of Prerna’s teachers. And I also was very deeply
impressed when I first heard it by a statement that he made. And she quotes it more
correctly than I remembered it. I remembered it as nationalism
being the starkest shame of the 20th century. And she cites it as, “The
starkest political shame of the 20th century.” Some of my fellow commentators
have pointed to the dangers in drawing too ready a
policy recommendation from Prerna’s work. Perhaps it is not, therefore,
entirely an accident that Prerna has chosen for the
cover of her book a painting by Bartlett care with
the name The Deep Abyss. Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] I’m not going to
try to summarize the various comments made here. I’ll simply invite
Prerna to pick and choose which comments she
wishes to respond to, which she wishes
to clump together, which she wishes to
counter critique. Prerna. I’ll give you 20
minutes. [INAUDIBLE] [INAUDIBLE] 15. Just shut me up at some
point. [INAUDIBLE]. Just– just say stop. So you know I
began by saying how this was the wildest of
dreams, and the wild part of it is now going to begin. But thank you so
much, really, all of you for your deep engagement
and your thoughtful reading of the book. And you know Peter
Hall– what I love about him is that he
also doesn’t hesitate to say things as they stand. It’s true this book
could have been written a little bit sooner. [LAUGHTER] But I think to some extent it
really– what it is right now– and obviously it’s by no
means at all, as has been clearly indicated, flawless. But I do think
that at least some of what it has been
able to achieve just in terms of the argument
being recognized is because these very
people at the table– but also so many people
beyond this room– have really engaged with this
argument in a way that actually has given me kind of
solace in the argument about a certain
kind of solidarity. And so I begin the
acknowledgements of the book by saying that the
writing of this book is really a testament
to its central argument. And I think a kind
of embeddedness in solidaristic
scholarly communities, which while being
critical, have also retained some of the
kind of joyfulness that I was grateful that
Andreas began his comments with. Both in this room, but also in
other scholarly institutions and in India. So with that, what I’ll try
to do is just start with, I think two of the
main comments that I saw kind of almost
coming through almost all the presentations. And then dealing with some
of the comments individually. So and in a way kind
of Sanjay led me to it with John [? Donne’s ?] comment. So I entered this. So John Donne had famously
said that nationalism is the starkest political
shame of the 20th century. And so much of–
I think you know there’s this–
much of what I was reacting to was that dominant
understanding of nationalism. However, is subnationalism
always a motive for social development? When is it? And when is it not? I think this is a
critical question. And one that I have tried to
grapple with, and continue to grapple with,
beyond the book. And I think it
actually brings me to a certain kind of
dimension that the book hints at, but doesn’t quite get into. Which is– so originally
when the argument began, there were two components
of the argument. Which had to do with both the
cohesiveness of the solidarity, but also the inclusiveness. So if you think of
it as a two by two, it’s not just the
strength of attachment within the boundaries, it’s also
how those boundaries are drawn. And to some extent
I kind of owe a debt of gratitude to the work
of people like Andreas and also Michelle Lamont. And so I think some
of you know what Irfan found so eloquently–
you know got into is the fact that
there’s something about the content
of subnationalism. There’s something about
the way that the boundaries of a certain community are drawn
that maybe the book doesn’t get– or doesn’t
privilege analytically as much as it does. So if you think not just
of the fact that, you know, what– how strong
is subnationalism, but how exactly it’s defined. Who’s included? Who’s not? Then I think it gets us to some
extent towards this question of when is it and when is it not
a force for the kind of welfare that I describe. But interestingly the answer
to that question I think gets us to the point that
has also been raised. Which is, is there
something about the strength of solidarity? And also how
inclusive horizontal it is that is actually
fundamentally determined by how subnationalism
emerges in the first place? And I think this gets to a lot
of the points that have also been mentioned. And the point– and the place
of instrumentality versus affective drivers in the story. And you know is
there something– so I make a case that
subnationalism emerges because, as again Peter
Howell very eloquently said, it’s a friend-enemy divide. That are– there
is a certain set of elites that are competing
against a dominant set of elites. And it’s actually very
self-interested, very instrumental for them to
raise this idea of a shared solidarity that then takes on an
institutional life of its own. And the interesting thing
in that is that, you know, it’s friends and enemies, but
it makes friends out of enemies. Because what it does is it
leads the kind of, in a way, non-dominant elites to
reach out and make friends across boundaries. But how many friends
do they make? And do they always make
friends, for instance with Muslims in
Maharashtra or in Gujarat? I think that’s a
kind of question. And so a– kind of
one way to answer it is that this has something to
do with historical contingency. But I think if I had to push
myself a little bit, I actually return to
conversations that I’ve had many times with
Patrick about Kerala. And so one way we can
frame the question is, when and how does subnationalism
create or not create welfare? Another way to
frame that question is, when are social
democratic parties– or when are political movements able
to create [? apologics ?] of welfare? And when are they not? Because those are
related questions. So is there a way in
which the construction of a subnational
solidarity in Kerala– it emerged from this
friend-enemy distinction. But the fact that
it also allowed a creation of a certain
kind of class politics, does that also
kind of, you know, become an explanation
for another factor? That– for a question
that I’ve always in turn asked someone who’s asked me
this question about Kerala, that you know
why– how do we not know that it was a kind of
social democratic politics that led to it in Kerala? And I always respond, well,
but why not in West Bengal? Which is a state in India
that’s had a longer history of communist governments. Right. And there’s something
there about the fact that this Communist Party in
Kerala when it first contested elections in the 1950’s,
its manifesto said, “Vote for a party that will take
care of the [? Mali ?] nation.” There was no mention
of the word communism or social democraticness
anywhere in that manifesto until page 9. So the question really
becomes, is there something about a kind of
certain political mobilization, a certain kind of
political movement that is part and
parcel of the way that subnationalism emerges that
then leads it to be– that then leads us to answer
this question of when it leads to social welfare
and when doesn’t it? And I– what I want to
say is that I’m actually kind of, you know, the way
that– if this was a Job Talk, I’d give you a far
more polished answer. But given that this is a very
different kind of occasion in which I do think–
hopefully there’s a space for saying that
I’m not entirely sure. Because the historical
material in these states points you in both
different directions. Another one of those
questions that I always ask myself is,
well, if there was– if it was caste mobilization,
if there was something about the horizontalness of
the political sphere that maybe didn’t happen in
Maharashtra, despite the best efforts of people like
[INAUDIBLE] and [INAUDIBLE], then why is it that anti-caste
movements in some states in India have led to very
solidaristic politics? While in other states,
they’ve been very divisive? So why in UP do you,
kind of, you know, have a really divisive
politics across caste, and not the emergence of
any kind of UP identity? But in Kerala those same
anti-caste movements do create this space for
a subordinate identity. My kind of anecdote about
UP is always, if any of you are ever in India
and are following a car which has UP
license plates– which will get me the point– to
the point about the US South, hopefully. So you know in India
all license plates– they don’t have
the kind of like, ‘Live free or die’, type mottos,
which is also interesting in itself. But if are– if you ever
have a government car, it always has a state symbol. Which I grew up in a kind
of bureaucrats families, so this could be
something to do with that. But we use to always look
at, you know, license plates and say, oh, that’s
the state symbol. So every symbol– every
state in India has a symbol. The state symbol
for UP is so large that you can barely
read the numbers. And the reason is because
it consists of a bow and arrow and a rising sun. And so the first time I saw
this I thought, what is this? What does that mean? Kerala’s very easy. It’s a palm tree. Tamil Nadu’s really easy. It’s the top of a
Gopuram in a temple. And you know each of
them has a moniker. UP has no moniker. The reason it’s called UP
is because the short form is United Provinces. So the Constitution
of India, which I mentioned in a
footnote, was actually held up because the state
couldn’t decide a name. So they sent names
to the Center. The first name they came
up with was Hindustan. Which for any of you
who work in India, is basically a name for India. They then came up with Parat. Then they came up with Aryavrat,
the land of the Aryans. This is 1947. [LAUGHTER] Then they came up with
[INAUDIBLE], the land of Ram. And at this point in time Nadu
was like, shut up, literally. He was just like, you use to
be called United Provinces. You are UP, so you just
become Uttar Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh is just a
geographic appellation. It just means the
northern provinces. And to me it’s
really interesting that other states that are named
like that, for instance Madhya Pradesh the central provinces,
there’s something about them. UP doesn’t have an objective. [? Graham ?] Nadish has a
really nice article and seminar in which he says, who are we? I’m from UP. What do I say? I can’t say I’m Rajasthani,
or I’m [? Maliali ?], or I’m Tamil. Or I’m [INAUDIBLE]. At least that– and so
this gets to this point about you know the
centrality of a certain kind of linguistic identity. So is there something
about the building blocks of subnationalism? How it emerges,
what is– you know, whether it’s a kind of
common linguistic identity. Or whether that
linguistic identity also includes within it certain
religious or caste groups, which is what happens in
Kerala and in Tamil Nadu, though to a lesser extent. So what I want to kind
of make the general case is that the kind of two
by two I kind of really emphasize the cohesiveness. But there is another axis,
which is the inclusiveness. And I think that
there’s something about where subnationalism
comes from that I argue determines the
cohesiveness, but maybe also explains the kind of
x-axis, which is inclusiveness. Ashu, how long do I have? Sorry, I don’t know how long. Well, it’s– we were hoping
to have a Q&A for 20 minutes. Have I already spoken for 20? No, no, no. No, no, no. Don’t worry. OK. You– take 2 , 3 minutes more. OK. So this question,
again, I think which is a really important one. What comes first? Right? So is it subnationalism that
leads to social development, or social development that
leads to subnationalism? Andreas began it. Melanie picked up on it. And I think it’s
an important one. I also have something to
say about the US South, but maybe I’ll just try to
mention that towards the end. But– so what– I’m very
careful in the book to kind of, you know, really be very
specific about the time line. Because to me it’s
really important to say that actually
subnationalism emerges in a context in which there
are hardly any schools, except for upper castes. And interestingly, the people
from whom subnationalism particularly emerges are
actually the least educated, and in a sense the
least [INAUDIBLE]. And so in terms of the
actual argument in the book, I do think– and I’ve spent
a long time in response to a lot of reviewers,
comments, and really kind of trying to nail down
the temporality of it. But I do think that
in the states in India what emerges first is very
clearly an independent of state institutions. I went into this. You know Peter Howell the
first day I arrived in Harvard, I think he– as he
introduced himself he told me, have you
read Eugen Weber? And I said, yes. I don’t think he heard me. But you know the argument
in most scholarship is that actually social–
Eugen Weber’s Peasants into Frenchman. What creates Frenchmen
are schools in France and a conscription army. So this argument
that actually it is social policies that
create– that create identity is again one that I
was all too aware of. And its the one that I
think, actually, at least in the Indian case, does not
stand up to historical scrutiny in the states that I look at. Is it not the case that
this can never be the case? No, not at all. And so I think Melanie’s
point about you know if you look
at the Middle East or other parts of the
world, are social– are welfare institutions a
good way to inculcate a subnational identity? Absolutely. And I think it’s– you
know it’s interesting. I wanted to show a video,
which I didn’t, which was of the London Olympics. And one of the things that it
completely befuddled Americans about the London Olympics
was that there was a segment, if you guys remember,
of NHS nurses– actual NHS nurses
who were dancing. And Fox News was like, why
are there nurses dancing in a London Olympics ceremony? But to me that’s an instance
of the fact that in the US the NHS, which was
put in place because of a national
solidarity, has now become a symbol of nationalism. So that in an Olympic
ceremony– and you know the link between
sports and nationalism has been well
made– you actually want to emphasize your
NHS, because that’s become a symbol of nationalism. So you know in Kerala the
debate that Patrick and I keep having is this– not a debate so
much as we keep like, you know, looking at these various
websites that talk about it. The national hero of Kerala
is also the more egalitarian King Mahabali. Right? They’ve actually called
their public distribution stores Mahabali stores. So again, this gets to
something about the kind of politics of naming. But I think in this
particular case, it is the case
that subnationalism precedes social policy. But can institutions
of social policy become themselves
indicators of nationalism? Absolutely. And to me that’s kind
of just down the line from the argument. I sure a lot more to say,
but I have to shut up. [LAUGHTER] Let’s see. OK. No, I– OK, two more minutes. No, it’s OK. I’ll hopefully will
come back to it. You said something about
the American South. That might be very interesting. Yes, [INAUDIBLE]. [LAUGHTER] Yeah, Ashu chooses
what I want to say. [LAUGHTER] [INAUDIBLE] No, I said– I mean– Things we say about–
things we don’t study are always interesting. So you know in the
US South there’s a very interesting book
by someone– again, I think– I always think
of myself as the recover-er of forgotten arguments. There’s someone
called Daniel Elazar who has written a book about
political cultures in the US. Which– so you know there’s
something about race, and it’s absolutely true
that the more racially divided states of the
US are empirically the states that have had
far more inclusive welfare policies. But is there a way in which
the kind of race divide prevents the US South from
having any kind of an identity that could be inclusive? I don’t know. I throw that out as a
provocative question. And just to say that
I had a senior thesis student at Harvard
who once said, look, I don’t think a Texan identity
is actually that exclusive. And so he talked about various
efforts being done in Texas today in which there was
this kind of– so you do stand proud to be Texan. But you really try consciously
and actively– and this I think is also instrumental. His story was quite
instrumental about changing what it means to be Texan. And in his case the
outcome variable was the preserve– preservation
of indigenous species of plants. So he argued that a more
inclusive Texan identity actually led to better
foresting policies. But– [LAUGHTER] No, stay here. Stay there. Don’t go away. We have 20 minutes
for Q&A. So would you like to field the questions? Or– what do you want to do? You. OK. So we do have 20 minutes left. 22 minutes left for
Q&A. And we promised you that, so let’s deliver. One, two, three. Let’s state three
questions to begin with. Let’s start there with Dietrich. Then we come to you sir,
and then we go there. Yeah. [INAUDIBLE] Dietrich? I’d begin this one where I
think [INAUDIBLE] comment, subnationalism is more easily
justified than nationalism because subnational unity starts
with [? army ?] therefore it is not easily [? transformed. ?] Absolutely. That’s beside. I have also a similar
question about the beginning of modern social policy, which
happened in Germany out– where it grew out of social
[INAUDIBLE] ideas. But this in Germany
there were at least two big subnationalisms that
were very good for it. One was Prussia and
the other was Bavaria. Prussia had the same
problem as Germany had. Germany was unified
in 1870, 1871. And that unity was
not easy to get. And in Prussia itself it
was to some extent forced. I [? can’t ?] comment on how it
was forced, but in either case, it was forced. It won out to inspire
German unification in a fashion other than
to [INAUDIBLE] unification at [INAUDIBLE]. And the biggest
opponent was Bavaria. And Bavaria was [? formally ?]
stronger in terms of cohesion [INAUDIBLE]. Prussia was not very cohesive,
but Bavaria lagged behind in social policy. And Prussia used social
policy as a instrument to bring a union together that
wasn’t particularly willing. And even the social
democrats were against Prussian social policy. But then they said, when
it was coming around, [INAUDIBLE] obviously
we’re staying away from it, but without us it would
never have happened. So that’s the [INAUDIBLE]
argument in the Prussian case. In Bavaria it lagged behind,
and it still lags behind. Bavaria still lags behind in
West Germany and to the united Germany 100– nearly
150 years later. And it is– I think
that it is– actually because the elites
don’t know how to control the– even
the social democrats, they were very Bavarian, too. OK. So yes, sir. You’re next. OK. Yeah, so as many
others the first thing that I thought of
with this idea was the US South,
subnationalism there, but also the
nationalism of Brazil. And because of
these ideas, I was thinking of the idea
of colorblindness as a sort of iterated
in Ian Haney Lopez’s dog whistle politics. And [INAUDIBLE] was
racism without races. And I feel that this
subnationalism, for example in the South, is sort
of instituted by, like, neo-liberal– the
neo-liberal color blind eye ideology in which– like, the
South built its subnationalism on, like, lip service
of egalitarianism at the expense of providing
explicit policies to uplift racial minorities from
the specific problems that they have. Therefore, like whites
either maintained or increased the
disparities between races while benefiting from, yeah, the
togetherness of subnationalism. So how does a region not
create subnationalism for the dominant group at the
expense of the minority groups? How does it not create? Yes, how does it– But in the– the implication
is that it will inevitably create– Yes. If you try to create
subnationalism, you will disregard the
minority group, and therefore– I see. –just only benefit the– OK. –majority. Your [? turn ?]. Prerna, congratulations
on your book, again. Thank you. And a couple of
interrelated questions. The first one is
[INAUDIBLE] Maharashtra , [INAUDIBLE] Tamil Nadu. You have different
historical trajectories and different explanations. So in– both in
Maharashtra and in Gujarat, I mean you have the dominant
present caste [INAUDIBLE] in Maharashtra [INAUDIBLE]. Who– you have an anti- upper
class movement in the Colonial Period which then leads
to these dominant peasant castes capturing the
electoral machine [INAUDIBLE] and then international
communist platform. And they used that and
the certain idea of what [INAUDIBLE] was talking about,
[INAUDIBLE] social justice to actually build institutional
structures, such as roads, education, institution, and
so on and so forth through the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s,
80’s, and even early 90’s. When [? say ?] of the dominant
subnationalist parties, I mean the regions are obviously
such as [INAUDIBLE] are just marginal characters in Bombay. It’s confined to Bombay. And Gujarat is non-existent. And then compare that to
a state like Tamil Nadu where you actually do have
a distinct anti-upper class movement. But it’s also
subnationalist because it is opposed to the non-Indians. So the first
question is, are you trying to draw too
much of mileage from your concept
of subnationalism to link different
historical tragedies? The second one is, that if
we take such long [INAUDIBLE] historical period, what
you having in the Indian subcontinent is the early
areas where the rich [? were ?] consolidated their rules,
where you have a [? Taminari ?] system. which [INAUDIBLE]
call the [INAUDIBLE]. Actually introduced
a type of feudalism that did not exist in
the Indian subcontinent. As opposed to the
[INAUDIBLE] system in Punjab, in
Maharashtra, Punjab it was a Bombay province and
then the [? Madhya ?] province. And this is where you have the
present caste actually getting hold of land directly. That’s where you have
Industrial Revolution coming in the Post-Colonial Period. And also you have better
literacy and health care system. So isn’t that then a better
alternative explanation as compared to– That’s the better
[INAUDIBLE] argument about how the present
proprietorship will have consequences that are very
different from land lordship. So that’s the
managing [INAUDIBLE] and the famous American
economic paper. Nick wants to say
something as well. Nick? [INAUDIBLE] just want to
give Andreas [INAUDIBLE]. You want to get the mic. OK about [INAUDIBLE] first. Sure. So you know as
always I’ve learned from reading and hearing
Dietrich [INAUDIBLE], so all I’ll say is I agree. I agree with you about the scope
condition of subnationalism, and I talk about
this in the book. You know that it’s a
more beneficial condition than nationalism. Both because it
doesn’t have an army, but also because it
has national oversight. So that if there are, kind
of, egregious persecution of minorities, one would
hope that the center can step in to a subnation in a way
that international norms are not quite as binding as–
for sovereign states. So this point about when do
you have subnationalism that isn’t just a reflection of
a dominant ideology I think is a very good one. And I think gets us back
to the kinds of discussions we were having about how
do you create, not just a strong subnational solidarity,
but also an inclusive one. And I think that what I
tried to stress in the book is the historical
contingency of how certain political
elites instrumentally need to take others on board. And so you kind of,
you know you reach out to a larger group of
people because it’s in your political
interest to do so. But I think– and this gets
to Victor’s point a little, is that I do try to
make a distinction, perhaps not as well
as I should have, between elite subnationalism
and mass subnationalism. And this gets to Andreas’
point a little bit about, you know– I was
laughing because one of the– one of
my self-critiques is maybe I am Putnam
without even realizing it. So you know in the kind
of comparisons to Putnam, one of the things is
how do you kind of have a bridging subnationalism? A bridging subnationalism
that includes ethnic groups. But also the fact
that, how do you get that elite subnationalism
to reach the masses? And in that I think Andreas’
point about the importance of associational networks
and organizations is quite important. And that’s very
[? Putnam-esk ?] as well. And so maybe a kind of
possible critique of the book is that it’s too Putnam
without my acknowledging it. But there is a way I think
that both– that there’s an instrumental reason there
for the kind of inclusion of other identities
in the Indian case, but there’s also a political
mobilization story. And so you know how– do I have
a kind of general prescription for how subnationalism
can become more inclusive? I do have certain insights
from the Indian case that I think can inform that. But to the general answer
of, can this happen? I would say absolutely yes. To some extent because
I fundamentally want to emphasize the
constructed nature of this. Kerala wasn’t born with
a strong subnationalism. They chose which
figures to recover. Right? So in Bombay they wanted
to put up Shivaji. And so in India there’s always
this controversy about Mayawati installing statues of
herself and of [INAUDIBLE]. And my point is, you know,
I don’t have a problem with her installing statues. I have a problem with who
she decides to venerate. Right? And so I think you know–
I don’t have a problem– I have a problem with Shivaji. But do I, you know–
who– but maybe Shivaji is
reconstructed in a way that he needn’t be the
Shivaji who he is now. And so all of it–
can I say something very quickly about the– so
I deliberately choose states, [? Vikrum, ?] that are
both princely states and directly controlled states. So their analysis of the–
is at the district level. But among the well-performing
states, like Kerala, which is a princely state,
and Tamil Nadu, which is directly controlled,
and among the not so good performing
states– Rajasthan, one which is a princely
state, and Uttar Pradesh, which is directly
controlled– so the idea is that you kind of have one
of each in both the positive and the negative cases. But if I can just say for
a second this point about, am I driving too much leverage
out of subnationalism? Is this just
anti-Delhi sentiment? The one thing– and this
kind of, you know, came up. I think it’s a good question. The only– two things
I’ll say in response. Not all southern
states have developed a strong subnational solidarity. So for instance–
and that solidarity hasn’t always translated
into social development. And the other thing is– to me
what’s important about states like Rajasthan and UP is not so
much that they do get conflated with Delhi, but about
the fact that they all speak the same language. Or at least that’s how
they’ve been defined. So there’s nothing distinctive
about their language, and there’s nothing uniform. And so– and they
get called this kind of Hindi heartland,
which they’re sometimes quite proud of. But my point is less about
the kind of the nature or the structure of federalism,
but more to do with the fact that this was a linguistic
federalism in which all these states got created as
homogeneous, Hindi speaking states. And so this gets to this
point about, you know, I can kind of counter Andreas
using his own technique on both the federalism and
the nationalism questions. Coming up [INAUDIBLE]
data from India. But I’ll stop. Just a brief point about–
I mean the wonderful point that Dietrich is making
about the difference between nationalism
and subnationalism where the subnationals
don’t have armies. Which is not true in Yugoslavia.
[INAUDIBLE] Yugoslavia, but anyway that’s– [LAUGHTER] Among the very few exceptions. But even in
nationalism literature, it is clear now that
we believe that it’s an imagined community. And that argument has been won. And imaginations can be
exclusive or inclusive. So nationalism doesn’t
have to be this nasty beast that John Donne thinks it is. And Charles Taylor has
remarkable arguments about both sides of nationalism. The good and elevating side,
and the exclusive and nasty and hateful side. So it’s a question of
what kind of imagination is– what kind of community
is imagined as opposed to only one kind of imagination
supported by nationalism? And let’s go to Nick now. And may I also invite
Margaret at some point, who’s a distinguished scholar
of welfare states, to say something
if she wishes to. [LAUGHTER] Nick? What I think it’s a
fascinating discussion, Prerna. And you may have just answered
the question I wanted to ask. You’ve addressed
any of the questions that the panelists asked
about the relationship between your primary
explanatory schema based on subnational identity
and organizational or policy variables. Which came first? And how do they relate? But some of the
panelists also asked about political
contestation, which was part of your last response. But I wondered if you
wanted to say something more about whether types of
contestation or contestation of different intensity
has to proceed the formation of
these identities? Or whether in the historical
narratives if you, again, found that are ways in which,
perhaps through language, subnational
identities take shape and themselves do more
to shape contestation through [INAUDIBLE]
formation than the reverse? Contestation of
different types– somehow forcing identities
on a particular group. Margaret? Yeah, this is like orals or– [LAUGHTER] I guess– I don’t– it’s
a fantastic argument. And to me– I just
want to say two things. [INAUDIBLE] basically I’ve
been thinking about the South the whole time, because
I’ve been working on US. But I just want to say to me
this evokes these arguments about how war creates
states, and how the ways that social
solidarities are created. And look at the
British welfare state as a creation of World War
II resonates very strongly with that kind of argument. I think that– that if
I could say something about the American South, I
was thinking about it partially comes from your comment about
this Christian southern part of the country. I think the identity of the
South is a religious identity, and it’s a Christian identity. And that is a racially
separate identity. And it is an identity
that wants to provide social goods through voluntary
means, not through the state. And that it doesn’t
want the state, because it has a
different– I mean it’s this whole different
rationale for redistribution. So I found this incredibly
stimulating to listen to. And I [INAUDIBLE] to bring
it to a paper I’m writing. So thank you. [INAUDIBLE] Prerna, congratulations
and thank you for [INAUDIBLE]
extraordinary [INAUDIBLE]. Just a quick question. In the discussion, and this
is probably my ignorance. It seems to me that
what I was hearing was the ways in
which subnationalism was being treated as a sort
of proxy for rationalism. You know as a smaller form. I mean more or less the
same, give or take an army. OK. [LAUGHTER] In a humanistic
sense, I mean sub– is loaded with possibilities. And how far does your
understanding of subnationalism speak to that which simply
falls beneath the nation, which is a broken version of it? How small can a
subnational community be? Can two refugees
make a subnation? Or say a queer
community, or x-y-z? I mean there’d be variations
on the subnational scene. Dizzying, [INAUDIBLE]. And I’m sure you’ve
thought about this. [INAUDIBLE] So this last point,
[INAUDIBLE] last point. It’s a very good question. You know Lloyd and Sue Rudolph,
who sadly passed away both earlier this year,
used to always tell me, you know either you just call
it nationalism or just call it regionalism. What is this subnationalism? And they said they always used
it as a very Indian tendency to kind of come up
with some slightly more bureaucratic sounding– like
broken version of something, but I stuck with it. But this– you know the
heart of the argument I think is about community. And so you know to what
constitutes a community? And I think you
know the boundaries of how and where that’s drawn
I think are quite fluid. And so when I think
of the argument, I think of it as travelling– it
gets called a proper noun like nationalism. For me subnationalism
is solidarity in the book at the level
of the Indian state. But then when I talk
about the implications, I say, look, there’s
no reason why we couldn’t imagine that this
would not work, for instance, at a village level. Or at the level of
a community that’s defined perhaps even
below or above that. So the kind of– the
most central insight is one about a kind
of identification with a community. Which– and this
gets me to the point, is you know Peter Hall does
this amazing thing of getting inside your head and saying
something that’s been knocking around, but you haven’t
been able to get it to exit your mouth. I think it’s against
cosmopolitanism. So it’s basically community. But it’s, to me,
the argument really is against cosmopolitanism. The literature on
cosmopolitanism has been kind of bothering me
for a little bit for a while. And I haven’t quite really ever
been able to be sure why it is. And now I kind of
understand it a little bit. So to me it’s a community that
perhaps necessarily requires a certain bit of inward
and backward looking. You look at how you
define yourself, and you find a way
to justify that by recovering a certain
history or a certain symbolism. But cosmopolitanism is not
where this argument, I think, would lead you. And so that’s perhaps
that’s a kind of help to me to think about it. This point about
political contestation. I think again to me it’s not
so much the intensity, Nick, as how the boundaries get drawn. And so again just very
quickly, in northern India people who speak Hindi
and Urdu are mutually comprehensible to each other. And yet these are now considered
as distinct languages. But they’re considered
distinct languages because they have
distinct scripts. In the mid 19th century
in Uttar Pradesh, these were not
distinct languages. Persian was the
script, and everyone spoke a common language
called Hindustani. But it was because of the
way that the boundaries got formed that Hindi and Urdu
became distinct languages that then came to be associated
with Hindus and Muslims. And sometimes because
that divide is now so deeply embedded
in Indian politics, it’s difficult to think of a
point when it wasn’t there. But there was a moment when it
wasn’t there in north India. And my point is in UP rather
than the boundary getting drawn across UP as
a region, it gets drawn in this kind of way in
which a common language gets bifurcated into two scripts,
which then get mapped onto two religious identities. And Margaret I’ll
end by saying I used to think I want to write
an article– which I still have a draft of– which says,
war not only makes states, it makes welfare states. [LAUGHTER] Just to– Am I done? No, just be here. [LAUGHTER] I actually grew up in this
much abused state of UP. [LAUGHTER] Which couldn’t figure
out what to call itself when the Constitution makers
asked, what’s your name? They said– all
these names came up. And it is true that it
has no regional identity. I as a child I thought
the entire India was mine. All of it was mine. Delhi was inside the
United Provinces– UP. Delhi was actually outside. So there is this whole idea
of no regional identity. And this entire nation
somehow belonging to you. And you could rule it. That’s what as children we
thought UP was all about. The most powerful state of
India, and also owning India, which obviously was wrong. But there is no
regional identity. I still have no
regional identity. Either an American identity
or Indian identity, but not regional identity. So you’re right about that. On that note, it’s
time to– it’s time to applaud the last two
hours and Prerna’s book. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC PLAYING]

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *