Satish Deshpande

EHESS  -  190-198 avenue de France  -  75013 Paris

Professeur de sociologie à la Delhi School of Economics, Satish Deshpande donnera une série de conférences.

Dans le cadre de l’équipe “STAKES” du CEIAS (coordination Loraine Kennedy, Aurélie Varrel), le 26 avril, de 14h à 16h, en salle 662, 190, avenue de France, 75013 Paris :

"The Grain of the Social: Rethinking ‘Rural’ and ‘Urban’ in 21st Century India"

This paper tries to stage a meeting between two important strands of contemporary social theory. The first is faced with the challenge of the illegibility of the economy, which seems to be following a new script that defies all the old codes of interpretation.  The second is trying to account for the recent rise to dominance of the city and the urban sphere, and for the fact that our present now seems to be urban in some fundamental sense.  While the first is a global problem, the second is a more Indian concern, given the longstanding ideological preeminence of the village and the rural in our society. If the first set of concerns is located in political economy, the second inhabits the socio-cultural sphere.  A possible meeting ground is provided by a third sphere, that of politics.  Three broad assumptions motivate this attempt at a macro-overview: a) spatial regimes necessarily involve both a political-economic and a socio-cultural dimension, and these dimensions are usually multilayered; b) strict separation of rural and urban dynamics is  no longer possible even for analytical purposes; and c) identifying the political stakes is as useful for ‘theory’ as it is for ‘practice’. 

Contact :

Au CERI (56, rue Jacob 75006 Paris), le 4 mai, de 16h30 à18h30 :

"Credential Capital, Social Inequalities and Higher Education in India"

Arguably, among the most momentous of decades in Indian higher education, the first ten years of the 21st century have transformed the terrain on which questions ofsocial justice need to be asked.  This paper outlines the major changes that have occurred and the reasons why it isnow imperative to take a disaggregated view of ‘Indian higher education’ andits various enclaves and aspects.

The 93rd Amendment ensured that reservations, the principal political mechanism through which the interests of social justice have been pursued so far, have now reached the end of the road.  With the last bastions of de facto upper caste privilege in elite state-funded ‘institutions of national importance’ being breached – at least the initial inroads have been made – there are not many destinations left on this route.  The questions of the future are now going to be about the challenges of broadening and deepening access in terms of sustaining enrolment and ensuring quality.

The 2000s saw the private sector overtaking the state sector for the first time in the history of Indian higher education.  Not only is higher education being rapidly privatised, the concentration of private investment almost exclusively in technical-professional fields is restructuring higher education.  On the one hand, technical education is now overwhelmingly private, raising a whole host of issues about equity of access, profiteering, and quality control.  On the other hand, there is an urgent need for complementary efforts to sustain and upgrade education in non-professional fields, including not only the humanities and social sciences, but also the natural sciences.

Although this development was not located within higher education, the political assertion of sub-groups within the larger categories that were the objects of affirmative action programmes alters the scenario significantly.  The demand for sub-quotas or other forms of intra-group differentiation are very soon going to make their appearance in this sector.  Dealing with these issues requires a rather different set of languages and modalities than the ones that have been in play. With aninitial analysis of these changes, the paper tries to identify the reasons why the old ways of thinking will no longer be effective, as well as the new questions that need to be tackled.

Contact : Max-Jean Zins ( )

Dans le cadre d’une séance commune aux équipes “Citoyenneté” (coordination : Stéphanie Tawa Lama-Rewal, Christophe Jaffrelot) et “Frontières » (coordination : Aminah Mohammad-Arif, Blandine Ripert) du CEIAS, le 10 mai, de 14h à 16h, , en salle 662, au 190 avenue de France, 75013 Paris :

"Citizenship as Shared  Sovereignty: Postnational Predicaments"
The term ‘postnational’ here refers to a situation where the ideological potency of the nation has been seriously eroded; where the nation is challenged from both supra-national and sub-national levels; but where it still retains its relevance as an arena of contestation and as the main source of legitimation for the state.  Numerically large social groups seeking redress for longstanding inequalities acquire the moral authority to speak in the preemptory language of sovereignty; on the other hand, claims for redress on such a scale tend to overwhelm the state.  Because of its eroded legitimacy and inability to interpellate its subjects, the nation can no longer underwrite the post-dated cheques issued by the state in lieu of effective redress.
In the past, the deployment of the language of sovereignty has led to the drawing of new borders and the creation of new nations with their own states.  Not only is this more and more difficult today, it also reproduces old problems in new contexts.  The exigencies of postnational politics seem to demand the impossible, namely the sharing of a sovereignty whose hallmark hitherto has been its indivisibility. Our predicament is that the political language we have inherited can no longer restrain the centrifugal or amplify the centripetal tendencies at work in postnational societies.  We now need a new political language that transcends our nostalgia for the ‘deep, horizontal comradeship’ once promised by the nation-form and enables our competing solidarities to be both conditional and compelling.

Contact :

Dans le cadre du séminaire d’Eric Fassin et Pap Ndiaye, « La racialisation en question », le 18 mai, de 15h à 17h, au 105 boulevard Raspail, 57006 Paris, en salle 8 :

"Justice versus Universalism? Political Visibility and Social Statistics"
Taking the recent controversy over the counting of caste in the Indian census as its point of departure, this paper explores the apparent tension between justice and universalism in state policy today.  On the one hand, legitimate demands for justice – for the redressal of real and undeserved diadvantages – seem to require a particularist language.  On the other hand, the ethical imperative of universalism – or the principled blindness to all particulars – seems to have acquired more power than ever before.
Against this backdrop, the shapes and contours of political morality are shifting, and in turn causing shifts in the attitudes and policies of states.  In the context of contemporary India (though not only here) the concrete consequences of these shifts are visible in the changing relationship of the state – and of political language – to entitlements based on forms of deprivation or disadvantage as against discrimination.  What should or can count as evidence that might be legitimately offered in justification of demands for state intervention?  How is this evidence produced?  The main concern of this paperis to map the deep asymmetries that mark the relationships of the ‘haves’ andthe ‘have-nots’ on this shifting terrain.  

Contact :

  • le mardi 26 avril 2011 à 14h
  • le mercredi 4 mai 2011 à 16h30
  • le mardi 10 mai 2011 à 14h
  • le mercredi 18 mai 2011 à 15h

Haut de page