This volume explores how difference is constructed, manifested, mobilised and obscured in socially uneven societies, particularly those fuelled by neoliberal economic growth in the recent years.
The book approaches difference as a double edged concept that allows one to make sense of the tensions that are played out between ‘cosmopolitan’ convergence and ‘multicultural’ diversity, between expanding middle classes and increasingly disenfranchised poor groups, between the global and the local. The chapters in this volume present a series of empirical explorations of how difference is articulated, desired, levelled, governed and even subverted in the socio-economically uneven landscapes of India and China. They examine how difference emerges out of daily practice, categorisation processes, dividing practices, nation building efforts and identity projects.
Through these empirical studies, we see how difference is articulated along a number of axes: differentiations of groups or persons according to hierarchies of superiority/inferiority; the demarcation of difference as something that is potentially disruptive and therefore in need of containment; the ‘celebration’ of difference as diversity, and finally, the ways in which difference comes to be internalised in the shaping of individual identities. Another common theme that binds a number of contributions is the exploration of the role of the state in constructing and controlling these differences, and the ways in which these interventions rearrange the social-political landscapes.
This book was published as a special issue of Third World Quarterly.
1. Governing Difference in India and China: an introduction 2. Imperial Modernity: history and global inequity in rising Asia 3. Nation’s Two Bodies: rethinking the idea of ‘new’ India and its other 4. China as an ‘Emerging Biotech Power’ 5. Post-colonial Renaissance: ‘Indianness’, contemporary art and the market in the age of neoliberal capital 6. Making Gujarat Vibrant: Hindutva, development and the rise of subnationalism in India 7. Between Egalitarianism and Domination: governing differences in a transitional society 8. Rule through Difference on China’s Urban–Rural Boundary 9. ‘Winning Hearts and Minds’: emotional wars and the construction of difference 10. Religion, Secularism and National Development in India and China 11. Between Party, Parents and Peers: the quandaries of two young Chinese Party members in Beijing