Social Exclusions, Governance and Environment. A critical interrogation.

3 September 2009 (Block 1: Governing Natural Resources)


About the lecture:
For long the problems of development has been debated as being that of poverty eradication. This has led to the growth of an array of tools to study it and strategies to alleviate it. However, since the late seventies after the concept, ‘social exclusions’ gained currency in Europe; it has increasingly couched the poverty debate in the rest of the world. Additionally it has increasingly been used to discuss ‘marginalisation’ and ‘deprivation’ including the theories of ‘social inequalities’.

Commentators have been critical of its extended use across the globe and the new meanings it has acquired in the process. And yet the power of the concept and the possibilities that it opens up has led many to affirm that it alone can grasp new forms of inequalities. What are these?

The paper discusses these in context of some issues relating to research on cities in India. It argues that in the south the concept has acquired analytical embeddedness because it is understood to be located in the exercise of power at three levels: economy/market, the state and cultural representations. This discussion is elaborated at three levels.

First, the concept allows us to differentiate analytically and yet analyse the relationality between access to livelihoods, social and physical infrastructure, substantive citizenship, group membership and individual dignity in the structuring of the processes of exclusion and inclusion. Second, its theory permits researchers to evaluate both the objective processes and subjective experiences of exclusion/inclusion by individual and collective actors. Last, by concentrating on the state, its institutions, actors and its ideologies, it allows researchers to delineate the possibilities and frames within which policy can be devised.

Prof. Dr. Sujata Patel
Three themes define the sociological canvas of the
twenty first century: the growth of ethnic and/or
religious identities and conflicts; cities as sites of
consumption and of exclusions; and the challenge posed
by competing modernities for social theory and
reflexive sociology. I have explored these themes in the
context of India through empirical and library research
while maintaining an internationalist interdisciplinary
position. The perspectives of sociology of power and
ideology are integral to my work.
I am the author and co-editor of six books and over forty papers published in international
and national journals such as Current Sociology, Sage (London) International Sociology
(Sage, London), Economic and Political Weekly, Mumbai and as book chapters in edited
books published by John Hopkins Press, Cambridge University Press and Oxford University
Press. I am the author and or coeditor of the following books: The Making of Industrial
Relations, Thinking Social Science in India, a reader titled Urban Studies, and a series of
three books on Bombay titled Metaphor for India; Mosaic of India and The City in

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