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Becoming and being a subject: An introduction
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences. (Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0932-4082
2017 (English)In: Subjects, Citizens and Law: Colonial and independent India / [ed] Gunnel Cederlöf, Sanjukta Das Gupta, London: Routledge, 2017, p. 1-17Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The question appears simplistic: who is the subject? When asked within the frame of polity and governing institutions, the subject is the individual who is subjected to the conditions of rule that are instituted in a polity. But as soon as the question moves from the abstract to the concrete, the answer will be anything but simple. The identity of the subject, the stipulated conditions, the nature of rule and the polity itself will immediately come into question. At whatever time and place this question is posed to India’s recent history, the answers will never be identical. There are many ways of representing subjecthood when observed through historiographical or historical lenses. Within the grand narrative of Indian colonial history, from the cradle to its imperial grave, and in independent India, the Indian subject is continuously being reconstituted in complex ways and varied contexts. 1

In the collective work of this volume, the authors have entered into a conversation about law and legal practice, and how the two have influenced and in fundamental ways shaped the nature of subjecthood in the formation of modern India. From different positions and in different contexts across north India, from the north-west to the north-east, the studies centre on the question of how the subject comes into being. The studies speak both to the historiographical and to the historical contexts, and both to how subjects have been represented across time and to specific historical events and trajectories. The studies refer, on the one hand, to the subject in legal and political terms, as a person who is dependent on a particular regime, and, on the other, to the subject position of individuals and collectives as it is shaped, negotiated, asserted and questioned. Rather than being seen as a once-and-for-all event, as an immediate consequence of conquest, naturalisation or birth, in this volume subjecthood is seen as a relationship that is being continuously reconstituted. In our usage, it is a relative term. It is a process over time in which the subject emerges in a particular context and relative to the larger complex of governing institutions and performance of rule.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Routledge, 2017. p. 1-17
Keywords [en]
India, citizen, state, law
National Category
History Sociology
Research subject
Humanities, History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-57809DOI: 10.4324/9781315392509-7ISI: 000460740300001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85020336338ISBN: 978-1-138-22844-3 (print)ISBN: 978-1-315-39250-9 (electronic)ISBN: 9780367177447 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-57809DiVA, id: diva2:1044654
Note

Conference: 23rd European Conference on South Asian Studies, Univ Zurich, Zurich, SWITZERLAND, JUL 23-26, 2014

Available from: 2016-11-04 Created: 2016-11-04 Last updated: 2022-11-18Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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  • nn-NB
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