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Week 7—The others of citizenship

Week 7—The others of citizenship

Main reading: Chatterjee (1998); Chatterjee (2004)

Other reading: Chatterjee (2012); Chatterjee (2011)

Continuing our discussion from last week, we now turn to Partha Chatterjee’s argument for a distinction between political society and civil society. While in many respects, Chatterjee’s overall perspective on civil society and its relationship to democratic legitimacy is in line with other thinkers who critique liberalism, we must ask whether political society is indeed the same as a counterpublic, and more importantly, whether we agree that political society is necessary to a just polity.

Where does Chatterjee expect to find examples of political society? Do you agree that a distinct kind of politics is found in these situations? Do you believe that this alternative politics deserves to be incorporated into a broader theory of politics?


Chatterjee, Partha. 1998. “Community in the East.” Economic and Political Weekly 33 (6): 277–82. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4406377.

———. 2004. “Populations and Political Society.” In The Politics of the Governed: Reflections on Popular Politics in Most of the World, 27–51. New York: Columbia University Press.

———. 2011. “Lineages of Political Society.” In Lineages of Political Society: Studies in Postcolonial Democracy, 1–26. Columbia University Press.

———. 2012. “The Debate over Political Society.” In Re-Framing Democracy and Agency in India, edited by Ajay Gudavarthy, 305–22. London: Anthem Press. https://doi.org/10.7135/UPO9780857289469.015.

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