Suryakant Waghmore and Hugo Gorringe will discuss their recent edited volume on civility in India
Suryakant Waghmore and Hugo Gorringe will discuss their recent edited volume on civility in India. Democracy and its success can very often be reduced to political institutions and procedures, but democracy has socio-cultural meanings and has always carried with it the possibility that the majority might tyrannize minorities. The vote for Brexit in Britain and the presidential election of Donald Trump in the USA arguably signify growing solidarity on racial and ethnic lines in these western democracies. Indeed, in democracies across the world issues of social and economic inequalities are increasingly framed along ethno-cultural lines, and India provides no postcolonial exception to this generalisation. Collective identities in democracies in an age of information revolution and hyper-globalisation need not be cosmopolitan and can privilege cultural majoritarianism, simultaneously constructing a fear of minority cultures and numbers. Such fears mobilized on cultural grounds through democratic processes and procedures could bring many projects of subaltern emancipation into conflict with majoritarian sensibilities. While democracy as a global project has significant achievements over the last century, present developments and past experiences highlight the universal problems of achieving trust and greater civility. In this talk we engage with the central concept of civility and offer an insight into the contributions of the volume.