Gravity of the state

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Journal article

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Economic and Political Weekly

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Economic and Political Weekly


Thanks to Arun Kumar Patnaik ('Idealist Equations', EPW, August 6, 1994), the discussion of Roja which has been going on in these pages has been explicitly shifted to questions of methodology which ought to be of the foremost importance for those investigating popular culture, questions which are usually not foregrounded in our eagerness to see what is being said (in this case, about a successful film). Patnaik draws our attention both to how the arguments are made and to their general import, suggesting that "deep idealist premises" underlie my methodology and give rise to "fundamental errors". What Patnaik perceives as error" stems from what I would describe as the deliberate choice of an analytical procedure in which the sets of distinctions made by Patnaik are not seen as viable. It is a procedure that, to my mind, draws centrally from the rethinking of Marxist theories of ideology. A basic premise of my analysis is the imperative to historicise, to not simply see the state, the nation, nationalism or 'the masses' as unchanging entities. Instead I see them as being rapidly reconstituted and re-figured in these times of widespread and pervasive political and economic changes.

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Niranjana, T. (1994). Gravity of the state. Economic and Political Weekly, 29(44), 2883-2884.