Party System Change in South India: Political Entrepreneurs, Patterns and Processes, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Party System Change in South India

Political Entrepreneurs, Patterns and Processes, 1st Edition

By Andrew Wyatt


226 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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This book provides a systematic exploration of party system change. By applying the concept of political entrepreneurship and using a detailed case study of the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, it demonstrates how party leaders can exercise their agency and drive party system change.

Recent developments in Tamil politics are taken into account in the light of the literature on party systems, achieving a classification of the party system and revealing patterns of change. The author explains the process of the change by comparing the careers of successful and failed party leaders, thus identifying the factors that enabled some political entrepreneurs to successfully found political parties and contribute to the process of party system change.

Examining issues such as regional parties, political entrepreneurship, social change, caste and religious nationalism, the book illustrates the key forces shaping contemporary Indian politics, and presents an example of how the trend toward identity politics and the rising influence of regional political parties are fashioning a new Indian polity. With a broad cross-disciplinary appeal, the book will be of interest to students of South Asian politics, comparative politics, sociology and anthropology.


"The book is a major contribution to the study of contemporary South Indian politics, combining a rich regional political history with an analytical narrative that simultaneously addresses central questions in the study of Indian politics more generally. These concern, for instance, how party systems change, the complex system of linkages between national and regional politics, the impact of cultural and social change on how politics is understood and conducted, and the influence of economic/development actors on each of these processes. Wyatt's explanations are always nicely developed. An elegant and well-thought-through book." Rob Jenkins, Professor of Political Science, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, 2010

"Andrew Wyatt knows (and shows) that political entrepreneurs matter much more than most analyses of parties and party systems suggest. He makes imaginative use of theory without becoming its prisoner. And he tells an exotic, important story authoritatively and well." - James Manor, University of London, 2010

"Andrew Wyatt has written by far the most rigorous and persuasive account to date of the roles played by individual political entrepreneurs in shaping changes in party systems. A must read not only for students of South India but also for political scientists more generally.Wyatt's book presents a sharp and welcome challenge to institutional determinism in political studies." - Stuart Corbridge, London School of Economics, 2010

"The book is well written and engagingly argued, and makes a substantial and original contribution to the study of Indian politics." - John Harriss, Simon Fraser University, Canada, and National University of Singapore, Singapore; Contemporary South Asia, Vol. 18, No. 3, September 2010

Table of Contents

1. Political Entrepreneurs and Party System Change 2. Conflict, Cleavages and Political Parties in South India 3. Evolution of a Party System 4. Political Leaders as Political Entrepreneurs 5. The PMK: Re-opening a caste cleavage 6. The DPI and Dalit Mobilization 7. The PT and Caste Politics in Southern Tamil Nadu 8. Hindu Nationalism in South India 9. Using Populism to Build a Broad Coalition: Vijayakanth 10. Conclusions

About the Author

Andrew Wyatt is a Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Bristol. He has research interests in comparative politics as well as electoral politics and political economy in India. He has co-edited The Politics of Cultural Mobilization in India and Decentring the Indian Nation.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in South Asian Studies

South Asia, with its burgeoning, ethnically diverse population, soaring economies, and nuclear weapons, is an increasingly important region in the global context. The series, which builds on this complex, dynamic and volatile area, features innovative and original research on the region as a whole or on the countries. Its scope extends to scholarly works drawing on history, politics, development studies, sociology and economics of individual countries from the region as well those that take an interdisciplinary and comparative approach to the area as a whole or to a comparison of two or more countries from this region. In terms of theory and method, rather than basing itself on any one orthodoxy, the series draws broadly on the insights germane to area studies, as well as the tool kit of the social sciences in general, emphasizing comparison, the analysis of the structure and processes, and the application of qualitative and quantitative methods. The series welcomes submissions from established authors in the field as well as from young authors who have recently completed their doctoral dissertations.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Political Parties
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / International
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies