Mass Mobilizations, Contestations and the Contingent Future in a Plural Polity

Monday, 11 July 2016: 14:30
Location: Hörsaal 48 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Rajesh MISRA, University of Lucknow, India
Many contemporary societies are undergoing socio-political struggles and concomitant upheavals, ranging from micro to macro and local to national levels, and impacting the social structures and political systems, sometimes creatively and sometimes randomly. These mobilizations have been described and analysed in great depth and details in different social sciences, nevertheless, the role and impact of people’s struggles, in shaping the circumstances and future, needs to be explicated conceptually and theoretically. A variety of issues and questions have to be dealt with to analyse the unmaking and making of society and polity at a higher level of abstraction. The explanation of collective actors, collective actions, unleashed social processes and social-future need to have the heuristic capacity to transcend the context of the origins of mass mobilizations. Locating in the empirical context of progressive and conservative mobilizations over the last four decades in the largest Indian province (210 million populace), Uttar Pradesh, this paper attempts to investigate the nature and dynamics of issues, organizations and ideologies with a view to appraise the consequences of mass mobilizations in terms of mass mentality, socio-political beliefs, normative patterns, social divides, integrative and disintegrative processes, and the social milieu embedded with contests. On the basis of findings, it may be argued that all the consequences are ‘fields’ of democratization as well as  contestations for political interests and identities comprising diverse narratives. This seeming paradox has to be explained, conceptually and logically, in terms of dialectical interactionism: people versus the state, the secular politics versus the communal politics, and the progressive ideologies versus the conservative ideologies. The argument of the paper is that people’s struggles and mobilizations as collective agencies have their distinct accounts, but are interlinked in an order coexistence as well as in an order of succession, nonetheless, resulting in a contingent future.