Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-564cf476b6-4htn5 Total loading time: 0.353 Render date: 2021-06-20T10:18:31.440Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true }

Another Realism: The Politics of Gandhian Nonviolence

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 May 2012

KARUNA MANTENA
Affiliation:
Yale University
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Although Gandhi is often taken to be an exemplary moral idealist in politics, this article seeks to demonstrate that Gandhian nonviolence is premised on a form of political realism, specifically a contextual, consequentialist, and moral-psychological analysis of a political world understood to be marked by inherent tendencies toward conflict, domination, and violence. By treating nonviolence as the essential analog and correlative response to a realist theory of politics, one can better register the novelty of satyagraha (nonviolent action) as a practical orientation in politics as opposed to a moral proposition, ethical stance, or standard of judgment. The singularity of satyagraha lays in its self-limiting character as a form of political action that seeks to constrain the negative consequences of politics while working toward progressive social and political reform. Gandhian nonviolence thereby points toward a transformational realism that need not begin and end in conservatism, moral equivocation, or pure instrumentalism.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © American Political Science Association 2012

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

Arendt, Hannah. 1963. On Revolution. New York: Viking Press.Google Scholar
Bilgrami, Akeel. 2003. “Gandhi, the Philosopher.” Economic and Political Weekly 38 (39): 4159–65.Google Scholar
Bilgrami, Akeel. 2009. “Value, Enchantment, and the Mentality of Democracy: Some Distant Perspectives from Gandhi.” Economic and Political Weekly 44 (51): 4761.Google Scholar
Bolsinger, Eckert. 2001. Autonomy of the Political: Carl Schmitt's and Lenin's Political Realism. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
Bourke, Richard. 2007. “Edmund Burke and the Politics of Conquest.” Modern Intellectual History 4 (3): 403–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bourke, Richard. 2009. “Theory and Practice: The Revolution in Political Judgement.” In Political Judgement: Essays for John Dunn, eds. Bourke, Richard and Geuss, Raymond. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 73109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bondurant, Joan. 1958. Conquest of Violence: The Gandhian Philosophy of Conflict. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Brown, Judith. 1972. Gandhi's Rise to Power: Indian Politics 1915–1922. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Brown, Judith. 1977. Gandhi and Civil Disobedience: The Mahatma in Indian Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Carr, E. H. 1946. The Twenty-years’ Crisis 1919–1939: An Introduction to International Relations. New York: Harper and Row.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dalton, Dennis. 1993. Gandhi's Power: Nonviolence in Action. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
Dalton, Dennis. 2000. “Gandhi's Originality.” In Gandhi, Freedom, and Self-Rule, ed. Parel, Anthony. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 6386.Google Scholar
Devji, Faisal. 2005. “A Practice of Prejudice: Gandhi's Politics of Friendship.” In Muslims, Dalits, and the Fabrications of History, eds. Mayaram, Shail, Pandian, M. S. S., and Sakria, Ajay. Ranikhet, India: Permanent Black, 7898.Google Scholar
Devji, Faisal. 2010. “Morality in the Shadow of Politics.” Modern Intellectual History 7 (2): 373–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dunn, John. 2000. The Cunning of Unreason: Making Sense of Politics. London: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
Freeman, Samuel. 2009. “Review of Philosophy and Real Politics, by Raymond Geuss.” Ethics 120 (1): 174–84.Google Scholar
Galston, William A. 2010. “Realism in Political Theory.” European Journal of Political Theory 9 (4): 385411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gandhi, Gopalkrishna (ed). 2008. The Oxford India Gandhi: Essential Writings. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. 1999. The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). 98 volumes. New Delhi: Government of India.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1909] 1999. Hind Swaraj. In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 10. New Delhi: Government of India, 245315.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1914] 1999. “The Theory and Practice of Passive Resistance.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 14. New Delhi: Government of India, 216–19.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1916] 1999. “On Ahimsa: Reply to Lala Lajpat Rai.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 15. New Delhi: Government of India, 251–54.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1920a] 1999. “Statement to Disorders Inquiry Committee.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 19. New Delhi: Government of India, 206–10.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1920b] 1999. “Evidence before Disorders Inquiry Committee.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 19. New Delhi: Government of India, 216300.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1920c] 1999. “The Law of Suffering.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 20. New Delhi: Government of India, 397400.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1920d] 1999. “The First of August.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 21. New Delhi: Government of India, 9395.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1920e] 1999. “The Doctrine of the Sword.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 21. New Delhi: Government of India, 133–36.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1920f] 1999. “Cow Protection.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 21. New Delhi: Government of India, 118–20.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1920g] 1999. “Swaraj in One Year.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 21. New Delhi: Government of India, 278–82.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1920h] 1999. “Social Boycott.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 22. New Delhi: Government of India, 6566.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1921a] 1999. “The Need for Humility.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 22. New Delhi: Government of India, 202–3.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1921b] 1999. “Notes.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 22. New Delhi: Government of India, 449–52.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1921c] 1999. “Hindu–Muslim Unity.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 24. New Delhi: Government of India, 1820.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1924a] 1999. “Vaikom Satyagraha.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 27. New Delhi: Government of India, 321–25.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1924b] 1999. “An Appeal to the Nation.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 28. New Delhi: Government of India, 307–12.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1924c] 1999. “My Path.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 29. New Delhi: Government of India, 441–42.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1924d] 1999. “Presidential Address at Belgaum Congress,” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 29. New Delhi: Government of India, 488507.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1925a] 1999. “Interrogatories Answered.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 30. New Delhi: Government of India, 156–60.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1925b] 1999. “Talk to Inmates of Satyagraha Ashram, Vykom.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 30. New Delhi: Government of India, 380–85.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1925c] 1999. Satyagraha in South Africa. In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol, 34. New Delhi: Government of India, 1277.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1927] 1999. “Ages-Old Problem.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 39. New Delhi: Government of India, 183–86.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1928a] 1999. “The Fiery Ordeal.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 43. New Delhi: Government of India, 5762.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1928b] 1999. “Jain Ahimsa?” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 43. New Delhi: Government of India, 127–32.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1931] 1999. “Speech at Birmingham Meeting.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 54. New Delhi: Government of India, 4348.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1933a] 1999. “Was It Coercive?” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 61. New Delhi: Government of India, 375–78.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1933b] 1999. “Letter to Jawaharlal Nehru.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 61. New Delhi: Government of India, 392–96.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1934] 1999. “Interview to Nirmal Kumar Bose.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 65. New Delhi: Government of India, 316–20.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1936] 1999. “Letter to Amrit Kaur.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 69. New Delhi: Government of India, 402.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1938] 1999. “Talk to Khudai Khitmatgars.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 74. New Delhi: Government of India, 145–48.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1939] 1999. “Requisite Qualifications.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 75. New Delhi: Government of India, 195–96.Google Scholar
Gandhi, M. K. [1941] 1999. “Constructive Programme: Its Meaning and Place.” In The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Electronic Book). Vol. 81. New Delhi: Government of India, 355–74.Google Scholar
Geuss, Raymond. 2008. Philosophy and Real Politics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Geuss, Raymond. 2010a. “Political Judgement in Historical Context.” In Politics and the Imagination. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 116.Google Scholar
Geuss, Raymond. 2010b. “Moralism and Realpolitik.” In Politics and the Imagination. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 3141.Google Scholar
Gier, Nicholas F. 2004. The Virtue of Nonviolence: From Gautama to Gandhi. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
Gregg, Richard B. 1935. The Power of Non-violence. Philadelphia: J.P. Lippincott Company.Google Scholar
Honig, Bonnie. 1993. Political Theory and the Displacement of Politics. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Honig, Bonnie, and Marc, Stears. 2011. “The New Realism.” In Political Philosophy versus History? Contextualism and Real Politics in Contemporary Political Thought, eds. Floyd, Jonathan and Stears, Marc. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 177205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Howes, Dustin Ells. 2009. Toward a Credible Pacifism: Violence and the Possibilities of Politics. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
Horsburgh, H. J. N. 1968. Non-violence and Aggression: A Study of Gandhi's Moral Equivalent of War. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Isaacs, Jeffrey C. 1995. “The Strange Silence of Political Theory.” Political Theory 23 (4): 636–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Iyer, Raghavan. 1973. The Moral and Political Thought of Mahatma Gandhi. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Mantena, Karuna. N.d. “On Gandhi's Critique of the State: Sources, Contexts, Conjunctures.” Modern Intellectual History. Forthcoming.Google Scholar
Mehta, Uday S. 2010a. “Gandhi on Democracy, Politics and the Ethics of Everyday Life.” Modern Intellectual History 7 (2): 355–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mehta, Uday S. 2010b. “Gandhi on the Common Logic of War and Peace.” Raritan 30 (1): 134–55.Google Scholar
Menke, Christoph. 2010. “Neither Rawls nor Adorno: Raymond Geuss’ Programme for a ‘Realist’ Political Philosophy.” European Journal of Philosophy 18 (1): 139–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mouffe, Chantal. 1993. The Return of the Political. London: Verso.Google Scholar
Morgenthau, Hans J. 1948. Politics among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
Morgenthau, Hans J. 1970. Truth and Power: Essays of a Decade, 1960–70. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
Nandy, Ashis. 1983. “The Psychology of Colonialism.” In The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self under Colonialism. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 164.Google Scholar
Newey, Glen. 2001. After Politics: The Rejection of Politics in Contemporary Liberal Philosophy. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Niebuhr, Reinhold. 1932. Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study in Ethics and Politics. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.Google Scholar
Oakeshott, Michael. [1962] 1991. Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund.Google Scholar
Parekh, Bhikhu. 1989a. Gandhi's Political Philosophy: A Critical Examination. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
Parekh, Bhikhu. 1989b. Colonialism, Tradition, and Reform: An Examination of Gandhi's Political Discourse. London: Sage.Google Scholar
Parel, Anthony. 1971. “Gandhian Satyagraha and Machiavellian Virtù.” In The Meanings of Gandhi, ed. Power, Paul F.. Honolulu: University of Hawaii, 183–99.Google Scholar
Parel, Anthony (ed). 2000. Gandhi, Freedom, and Self-Rule. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
Parel, Anthony. 2006. Gandhi's Philosophy and the Quest for Harmony. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Rudolph, Lloyd, and Rudolph, Suzanne. 1967. The Modernity of Tradition: Political Development in India. Chicago: University of Chicago.Google Scholar
Sabl, Andrew. 2002. “When Bad Things Happen from Good People (and Vice-Versa): Hume's Political Ethics of Revolution.” Polity 35 (1): 7392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sabl, Andrew. 2011. “History and Reality: Idealist Pathologies and ‘Harvard School’ Remedies.” In Political Philosophy versus History? Contextualism and Real Politics in Contemporary Political Thought, eds. Floyd, Jonathan and Stears, Marc. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 151–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shapiro, Ian. 2005. The Flight from Reality in the Human Sciences. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Sharp, Gene. 1973. The Politics of Non-violent Action. 3 volumes. Boston: Porter Sargent.Google Scholar
Sharp, Gene. 1979. Gandhi as a Political Strategist. Boston: Porter Sargent.Google Scholar
Shklar, Judith. 1984. Ordinary Vices. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Shklar, Judith. 1989. “The Liberalism of Fear.” In Liberalism and the Moral Life, ed. Rosenblum, Nancy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2138.Google Scholar
Shridharani, Krishnalal. 1939. War without Violence: A Study of Gandhi's Method and Its Accomplishments. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company.Google Scholar
Skaria, Ajay. 2002. “Gandhi's Politics: Liberalism and the Question of the Ashram.” South Atlantic Quarterly 101 (4): 955–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Srinivasan, Vasanthi. 2009. Gandhi's Conscience Keeper: C. Rajagopalachari and Indian Politics. Ranikhet, India: Permanent Black.Google Scholar
Terchek, Ronald. 1998. Gandhi: Struggling for Autonomy. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
Whelan, Frederick G. 2004. Hume and Machiavelli: Political Realism and Liberal Thought. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
Williams, Bernard. 2005a. “Realism and Moralism in Political Theory.” In In the Beginning Was the Deed: Realism and Moralism in Political Argument, ed. Hawthorn, Geoffrey. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 117.Google Scholar
Williams, Bernard. 2005b. “The Liberalism of Fear.” In In the Beginning Was the Deed: Realism and Moralism in Political Argument, ed. Hawthorn, Geoffrey. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 5262.Google Scholar
77
Cited by

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Another Realism: The Politics of Gandhian Nonviolence
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Another Realism: The Politics of Gandhian Nonviolence
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Another Realism: The Politics of Gandhian Nonviolence
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *