September 24, 2014

Persistence of Poverty in India edited by Nandini Gooptu and Jonathan Parry
ISBN: 978-93-83166-04-6 | Hardback | 446 pp | Date: September 2014 | Price: Rs 745
“This book, edited by Jonathan Parry and Nandini Gooptu, is unique in several respects.  What distinguishes it from the existing literature on persistence of poverty in India, despite high growth, is the multi-disciplinary and “bottom-up” approach in devising solutions to this problem.  Fifteen essays, written by political analysts, anthropologists, sociologists, economists and others offer valuable insights on the realities of poverty at the ground level and unequal distribution of powers among different classes in the society.  This book is an essential reading for academic researchers across different disciplines as well as political leaders and policy makers in India and abroad.”
                                                                                                     Bimal Jalan
Former Governor, Reserve Bank of India
“There is a vast literature on poverty in India, but much of it reflects an obsession with measurement. And for all the emphasis on poverty reduction in public policy, neither the ways in which poverty is reproduced through power relationships nor the practical politics of poverty alleviation have received the attention they deserve. This remarkable and innovative collection brings together a range of disciplinary perspectives to provide illuminating answers to these vitally important questions.”
John Harriss
Simon Fraser University

What distinguishes Persistence of Poverty from most other poverty studies is the way in which it conceptualises the problem. This volume offers a variety of alternative analytical perspectives and fresh insights into poverty that are key to addressing the problem.
 In looking at the day to day lived realities of the poor the volume  points out that in order to understand poverty one must take into account the wider system of class and power relations in which it is rooted. Macro statistics alone are not able to provide us with a satisfactory understanding of the problem.

Fifteen candid and perceptive essays written by eminent social scientists coming from a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds argue that the problem of poverty cannot be reduced to individual attributes and capacities of the poor. While it is widely held that democratic politics will in the long run lead to significant
redistribution, mitigate the stark inequalities that currently exist and ‘solve’ the scandal of absolute poverty, this volume suggests that ’democracy in India may be as big a part of the problem as it is of the solution.’   
About the Authors:
NANDINI GOOPTU is Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford, and currently Head of the Department of International Development at Oxford University. 
She is the author of The Politics of the Urban Poor in Early-Twentieth Century India (Cambridge University Press2001) and several highly acclaimed edited volumes.
JONATHAN PARRY is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science .

He is the author of  Caste and Kinship in Kangra (Routledge 1979), Death in Banaras (Cambridge University Press, 1994), and several distinguished edited volumes.
1. Jonathan Parry, Introduction: On the Persistence of Poverty in India
Part I: Identifying the poor
2. Nandini Gooptu, The Construction of Poverty and the Poor in Colonial and Post-Colonial India: An Overview            
3. Himanshu and Kunal Sen, Poverty in India: Measurement, patterns and determinants

4. Penny Vera- Sanso, Reconceiving the Impact of Population Change: A Class- and Gender-based Analysis of Ageing in Poverty in Urban South India 
Part II: Targeting the poor
5. Dipankar Gupta, From Poverty to Poverty: Policies for Translating Growth into Development
in India
6. Jos Mooij, Redressing Poverty and Enhancing Social Development: Trends in India’s Welfare
Part III: Empowering the poor
7. Peggy Froerer, Poverty and Education in Rural Chhattisgarh 
8. Arild Ruud, Notions of Rights and State Benefits in Village West Bengal  
9. Indrajit Roy, Flaunted Transcripts: Shaming Elites and Interrogating Domination in Bihar
Part IV: Controlling the poor
10. David Picherit, Neither a Dog, nor a Beggar: Seasonal Labour Migration, Development, and
Poverty in Andhra Pradesh
11. Julia Eckert, Preventive Laws and the Policing of the Urban Poor

Part V: The improving lot of the poor?
12. Surinder S. Jodhka, What’s Happening to the Rural? Revisiting ‘marginalities’ and
‘dominance’ in North-West India
13. Staffan Lindberg, Venkatesh B. Athreya, Göran Djurfeldt, A. Rajagopal, and R. Vidyasagar,
Progress over the Long Haul: Dynamics of Agrarian Change in the Kaveri Delta
14.  Barbara Harriss-White, The Dynamic Political Economy of Persistent South Asian Poverty
15. Dwaipayan Bhattacharyya, How to Govern the Poor:  The Role of Social Policies in
Economic Transformation


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