Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 October 2014
Since the beginning of the publication of Subaltern Studies in the early 1980s, new interest has been generated in the study of subalterns in South Asian society. Numerous articles have been written on the subalterns, in historical as well as contemporary contexts. Most of the studies on subalterns are, however, narratives of the socio-political experiences of subalterns and their contribution to society, ignored by the mainstream history; at least the twelve volumes of Subaltern Studies remained centrally concerned with that. On the other hand, critics of subaltern studies challenged the approaches and methodologies of subaltern studies. The question of subaltern reproduction has neither been given appropriate attention in the series of Subaltern Studies, nor has been underlined as the new context of undertaking studies on subalterns. The critics too missed the issue of subaltern reproduction.
The issue that is of critical importance to understanding subalterns is their reproduction: why and how does a society produce and reproduce subalterns? How do subalterns negotiate their social and political emancipation? How do they absorb social and political changes? These questions are relevant in historical as well as contemporary contexts.
This volume is an attempt to capture some of the processes of the use of ideology, knowledge and power to reproduce subalterns and subalternity in Indian society; to map the dominant trajectories of emancipation and assertion adopted by the subalterns; and to analyse the forces of social and cultural changes including resistance to those changes.