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Differing Interpretations

Shobha Raghuram

Edited by Kameshwar Choudhary
Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2007, pp. 552, Rs. 1100.00


The critique of globalization and the neo-liberal economy has, interestingly enough, become a major platform in an increasingly interdependent world, where writers and thinkers from different disciplines come together to discuss their commonalities and state their divergences. This volume comprises substantial papers from twenty writers—economists, anthropologists, political scientists, and sociologists from major research institutes in the country. It is an ambitious effort and the editor has succeeded in welding more than twenty papers into a volume with a cognizable, thematic focus. Under the rubrics of ‘Conceptual Spectrum’, ‘State-level Reforms and Development’, and, lastly, ‘Social, Cultural and Political Dimensions’, Kameshwar Choudhary has made accessible to readers in globalization studies a competent anthology of work accomplished in India, a decade after the initiation of structural reform policies in 1991.   Given that one of the earliest anthologies of papers on the reforms was brought out by Vyasulu, Sievers and myself in 1995 with Macmillan including papers by the late S. Guhan, V. Vyas, M. Redclift, K.S. Krishnaswamy, S.L. Shetty and several other noted social scientists, it was a pleasure for me to see how far the debate has moved since, adding significantly to the academic critical discourse the review of the dimensions of governance and the needed reforms in the various sectors. The term ‘Globalization’ is a highly contentious concept. It is interpreted and understood as an integrator, as a catalyst for increasing interdependence across the world, as a normative, as part of the neo-liberal agenda, as a western tool of intervention in the economies of the South and so on (p. 12). The editor in a comprehensive introduction along with his summarization and analysis provides useful tables which clearly delineate and explain not only the differing interpretations of globalization (hyperglobalizers, sceptics/critics, tranformationalists) but also the meanings (See p. 13. Figure 1.1). Indeed much of the ground covered is recent and in this sense the volume meets the needs of contemporary literature on globalization despite the fact that these papers are the outcome of a conference held at IRMA few years ago.   After the continued popular resistance to globalization by civil society members grounded on ideological differences and the market defence of globalization based on economic growth it is refreshing to come across serious writers with clearly argued positions drawn from well- referenced and well-examined terrain ranging from the several reports on poverty, inequality and development by the multilateral agencies to the texts of ...

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