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Democratic Dynasties
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Book description

Dynastic politics, usually presumed to be the antithesis of democracy, is a routine aspect of politics in many modern democracies. This book introduces a new theoretical perspective on dynasticism in democracies, using original data on twenty-first-century Indian parliaments. It argues that the roots of dynastic politics lie at least in part in modern democratic institutions - states and parties - which give political families a leg-up in the electoral process. It also proposes a rethinking of the view that dynastic politics is a violation of democracy, showing that it can also reinforce some aspects of democracy while violating others. Finally, this book suggests that both reinforcement and violation are the products, not of some property intrinsic to political dynasties, but of the institutional environment from which those dynasties emerge.


'This book delves into dynasticism in Indian politics, sometimes to surprising effect. In so doing it sets the stage for future work in the area. A valuable addition to the active literature on political dynasties.'

Ernesto dal Bó - University of California, Berkeley

'This path-breaking book brings together a wealth of original data and acute analysis to unsettle our assumptions about dynastic politics, and shows how dynasty can sometimes strengthen democracy by furthering the inclusion of disadvantaged groups.'

Niraja Gopal Jayal - Jawaharlal Nehru University

'This rich collection takes us deep into the complexities surrounding dynasticism in Indian politics. Ambiguities are embraced and explained. Shrewdly formulated questions yield perceptive, sometimes surprising answers. This is a book of great value.'

James Manor - School of Advanced Study, University of London

'This volume makes an important and timely contribution to an emerging literature on dynasties in democracies. Using new data on the family ties of politicians, the chapters offer a range of fresh insights into how dynasties shape contemporary Indian politics.'

Daniel M. Smith - Harvard University, Massachusetts

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