The social sciences have been heavily influenced by modernization theory, focusing on issues of economic growth, political development and social change, in order to develop a predictive model of linear progress for developing countries following a Western prototype. Under this hegemonic paradigm of development the world tends to get divided into simplistic binary oppositions between the ‘West’ and the ‘rest’, ‘us’ and ‘them’ and ‘self’ and ‘other’.
Proposing to shift the discussion on what constitutes the ‘Other’ as opposed to the ‘Self’ from philosophy and cultural studies to the social sciences, this book explores how the structural asymmetries existing between Western discourses and the realities of the non-Western world manifest themselves in the ideas, institutions and socio-political practices of India and China, and in how far they shape the social scientist’s understanding of their discipline in general. It provides a counter-narrative by revealing the relativity of geographies, and by showing that the conventional presentation of core elements of the Asian socio-political set-up as ‘aberrations’ from the Western models fails to acknowledge their inherent strategic character of adapting Western concepts to meet local requirements.
Drawing on multiple disciplines, concepts and contexts in India and China, the book makes a valuable contribution to the theory and practice of politics, as well as to International and Asian Studies.
"Noteworthy is the foreword by T. K. Om-men who succinctly summarises the Europe-an imagery of the "Other" from the age of discovery until the present and shows that while the terminology changes, the (mis)conceptions often do not… Subrata Mitra provides a highly original contribution on Indo–EU relations. He points out that the idea of rational Self and irrational Other in European thinking entered politics and political science in the shape of "modernisation, development and good governance".
Dagmar Hellmann-Rajanayagam, ASIEN The German Journal on Contemporary Asia
Introduction Lion König and Bidisha Chaudhuri PART I: Concepts in Context: The Case of India 1. The Hindu Nationalist Strategy of Stigmatisation and Emulation of ‘Threatening Others’: An Indian Style Fascism? Christophe Jaffrelot 2. Stretching Secularism: Conceptual Equivocality in the Indian Context Lion König 3. Muslim Citizens versus Citizen Muslims: A Study of Discursive Strategies in Contemporary India Julten Abdelhalim 4. ‘Back to the roots’: The Indigenisation of Western Party Politics in Post-colonial India Clemens Spiess 5. Indian Federalism: A Hybrid Solution to the Problem of Diversity and Political Order Harihar Bhattacharyya 6. Politics of ‘Good Governance’: "Otherising" Governance in India Bidisha Chaudhuri 7. Self and Other in the Making of Foreign Policy: The Terms of Discourse in Indo-European Relations Subrata K. Mitra PART II: Concepts in Context: The Case of China 8. Class Politics and the Entrenchment of the Party-State in Modern China Brian Tsui 9. The Chinese Assimilation of ‘Social Class’: Intellectual Discourses on Jieji between 1899 and 1949 Jeesoon Hong 10. Chinese Dreams of Socialism: Visions of a Better Future Gerda Wielander 11. Democracy with Chinese Characteristics: The Primacy of the Nation Robert Weatherley 12. ‘Othering’ in the Construction of Chinese Citizenship Malgorzata Jakimów and Elena Barabantseva 13. ‘Renquan’—Chinese Human Rights: An ‘Import’ from the West or a Chinese ‘Export’? Yuka Kobayashi 14. Soft Power in China: Adaptation and Development of a Fashionable Concept Mareike Ohlberg 15. Hegemony in Chinese? Ba in Chinese International Relations Astrid Nordin