ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Policy and Practice of Social Justice in Tamil Nadu

Rethinking Social Justice edited by S Anandhi, Karthick Ram Manoharan, M Vijayabaskar and A Kalaiyarasan, with a foreword by Partha Chatterjee, Hyderabad: Orient BlackSwan, 2020, pp 368, `795 (paperback).

The unifying theme that animates the “foreword” and the 13 individual essays in Rethinking Social Justice are the quest for social justice, not only as a purely intellectual concern, but also as a genuine ideological praxis for marching towards progressive and sustainable social change. To “rethink” social justice, it is important to broadly define the concept of social justice in the first place; such a definition should also be capacious enough to accommodate the multiple interpretations that are likely to emerge and jostle for legitimacy. We proceed further in this review by adopting an operational definition of social justice that embeds the pursuit of socio-economic mobility within the context of a culturally heterogeneous society. The essays in this volume drive home the point that the interplay of social movements, political economy, and political ideology decides the pathways of social justice. 

This review is divided into three sections. First, we discuss the problems associated with an elite-led quest for social justice. Then, by presenting Tamil Nadu (TN) as an illustrative case study, we outline the constructive possibilities in the realm of social justice when social engineering is undertaken through popular mobilisation that uses the state as an instrumentality of change. Finally, we engage with the need to rethink social justice in light of ever-changing socio-economic realities by identifying critical gaps in TN’s otherwise successful development model.

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Updated On : 14th Feb, 2023
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