Chapter

The Empire of Democracy

Sudipta Kaviraj

in Anxieties of Democracy

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780198077473
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081745 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198077473.003.0002
The Empire of Democracy

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‘Transition to democracy’ is a phrase that can refer to two entirely different processes of political change. First, ‘transition to democracy’ can mean a transition from modern authoritarian or totalitarian systems of government to democratic ones. It can also refer to the much slower, problematical, historical transition from premodern forms of society to a society shaped either wholly or in part by a democratic ‘social imaginary’. This chapter focuses on Indian politics based on Alexis de Tocqueville’s views on democracy as given in his book Democracy in America. It discusses the concepts of democratic government and modern society, Tocqueville’s invocation of providence, the relation between religion and the egalitarian forces of democracy, the strange adaptive dynamic between caste identities and democratic institutions, democracy and God’s will, democracy and elections, democracy and reservations, equality of castes, and polyarchy and power in India.

Keywords: India; politics; democracy; transition to democracy; Alexis de Tocqueville; providence; reservations; castes; polyarchy; religion

Chapter.  11672 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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