Social Movements and Politics in India (MPSE-007) is one of the optional courses of the Masters in Political Science (MPS) programme. It aims to acquaint students with the meaning, theories and operations of the social movements in India and their relationship with politics. Social movements have always been significant part of the peoples' activities. But is since the last three decades of the twentieth century that they have become quite prominent in India. They have not only opened new issues and debates in the academic discourse, they have also caught the attention of the policy makers. It is, however, a different matter whether all social movement have been successful in their goals or not. As a result of the changes in the social and economic situations in the country and international political economy a large number of social groups have emerged on the social and political scene in India. A large number of social groups are involved in their social movements - dalits, OBCs, women, farmers/peasants, workers, environmental and ecological groups, fisher folks, etc.
Usually scholars use "social" and "political" movements interchangeably. Social movement means collective action on the part of the people. There are different forms of collective actions. But all collective actions can not be called social movements. Spontaneous or the immediate reaction of a group of people to a particular event can not be called a social movement. Mob action in rioting is collective action but not social movement. A collective action which is part of the institutional functioning like voting in election can also not be called social movement. Social movement is a collective deliberate action. The collective actions include protest against the policies and actions of the state or the dominant classes in the society. Their main objective is to achieve social change focusing on rights, dignity, social justice. Even the movements which are opposed to the social change or the counter-movements form part of the social movements. Social movements have formal or informal organisations, leadership, ideologies and programmes: They may follow some patterns or strategies of mobilisation of the participants in order to pressurise the political authority. Social movements thus are an essential component of democratic processes.
This course has 17 units. The first three units deal with the conceptual frameworks about the social movements. Unit 1 explains the meaning, significance and components of social movements. Unit 2 deals with the approaches to study social movements. Unit 3 is about the classification of social movements.
Next three units seek to provide a context to the social movements in India. Unit 4 explains the changes which have taken place in Indian society and their relationship to the democratisation. Unit 5 attempts to relate the social movements to the phenomenon of globalisation. Unit 6 is concerned with the changing nature and roles of the state and market their impact on the social movements.
Units 7-12 deal with the social movements with reference to the collective actions-of identities and their struggle to get social justice. Units 7 and 8 focus on the movements of dalits and backward classes respectively. Unit 9 discusses the ethnic movements with special reference to tribals. Unit 10 is about the women's movements. Unit 11 is concerned with regional movements. Unit 12 attempts to explain the religious and communal movements.
Units 13-17 seek to relate the social movements to the broader issues of development Unit 13 is about the collective actions of variuos agrarian classes. Unit 14 deals v the working class movements. Unit 15 is concerned with the fisher folks movement Unit 16 discusses environmental and ecological movements. Unit 17 attempts to ass the significance of the social movements to democracy in India.
The units in this book have been carefully written by the specialists engaged in study and research on social movements. The names of the authors are listed in the book is advised that the students read as much of the books and articles listed at the end of the book in the suggested readings, Students are also advised to relate whatever t read in this book to their own observations about the social movements and politics.
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