South Asia Seminar: Re-building Democracy: Parekh on Indian nationalism and the common good

narendra modi addressing vijay shankhnad rally in meerut from modis flickr account creative commons

Convener: Dr Faisal Devji

Speaker: Colin Tyler

Even though Bhikhu Parekh has written extensively on the theory and practice of multi-ethnic societies, he is yet to articulate the clear critical typography of contemporary forms of national unity that some think necessary to complete his position. The paper will explore his claim that “the nation” is dangerous myth. To achieve this goal, Parekh’s writings on Indian nationalism will be analysed against the background of the social and political thought of Rabindranath Tagore and others. Parekh’s position will be shown to invoke a conception of political order that is founded upon a surprisingly pluralistic conception of the common good. The paper will assess the extent to which Parekh’s conception of political order could address key structural problems that he identifies within Indian democracy. 

Colin Tyler is Professor of Social and Political Thought, and Director of the Centre for Idealism and the New Liberalism at the University of Hull. He has published widely in political theory and the history of political thought, with his most recent book being Common Good Politics: British Idealism and social Justice in the contemporary World (Palgrave MacMillan, 2016). Professor Tyler taught at University College London and the University of York as well as being a Visiting Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Wake Forest University, USA during the 2014-15 session. He edits the International Journal of Social Economics and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Further Information

This seminar series is organised with the support of the History Faculty.

Related Documents