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Title: Interconnections of the political : British political economy, agrarian governance, and early nineteenth-century Cuttack (1803-1860)
Author: Chakrabarti, Upal
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2012
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Abstract:
This dissertation brings together, as an integrated analytical field, political-economy in Britain and practices of agrarian governance in various parts of British India, focusing on the Cuttack division of Bengal Presidency in the first half of the nineteenth century. Following a trail of methodological debates through thinkers like David Ricardo, Richard Jones, James Mill, William Whewell, John Stuart Mill, and others, it argues that there was a major transformation in the epistemological field of political economy, which established the categories of production and distribution as contingent on globally varying assemblages of property and political power. During the same period, in British India, I further contend, the object of agrarian governance was shaped as a complex of property and political power - which I call the "political" - distributed between a range of landholders and landholding bodies, such as the state, big landlords, village headmen, cultivators, and the village itself. As I trace the governance of the "political" in Cuttack over the first half of the nineteenth century, through chapters on rent, property and village, I highlight its interconnections with other regions of British India, like the North Western Provinces or the Madras Presidency. These interconnections, I argue, emerged out of a spatio-temporal classificatory logic which assigned particular forms of the "political" for different localities, as varying instances of an original form prevailing in a putative ancient Hindu India. Finally, I turn towards quotidian disputes over appropriate locations in the "political" between a variety of landholders in Cuttack, which help in understanding the specific nature of agrarian power in Cuttack, by pointing out the limits of, and further reorientations in, the framework of governance. This dissertation is informed by a critique of several conceptual separations in the relevant historiography - between "metropolitan" and "local", "theory" and "practice", and "liberal theory" and "indigenous reality".
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.594000  DOI:
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