Book Chat | Hailing the State
Indian Democracy Between Elections
In this Book Chat, Jovan Maud discusses Hailing the State: Indian Democracy Between Elections (2023, Duke University Press) with the book's author, Lisa Mitchell, Professor of South Asian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and associate of the Institute's Department 'Anthropology of Politics and Governance'. They are joined by MPI Director Ursula Rao and Tarini Bedi, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and an Expanding Internationality Professor at the University of Heidelberg.
In Hailing the State, Lisa Mitchell combines archival and ethnographic research to explore forms of collective assembly in colonial and postcolonial India by which citizens seek to address governmental officials and politicians and hold them to account. The book expands the discussion of democracy from a narrow focus on elections to focus on various everyday modes of political assembly. By examining the different ways Indians "hail" the state in order to demand its recognition and action, the book seeks to move beyond understanding political assembly simply as "protest" or "resistance". And by focusing on the perspectives and actions of both citizens and government officials, she presents a nuanced and rich account of democracy in action.