Malinowski Memorial Lecture, 2012.
‘The muck of the past’: revolution, social transformation, and the Maoists in India†
Version of Record online: 30 APR 2014
© Royal Anthropological Institute 2014
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
Volume 20, Issue 2, pages 337–356, June 2014
How to Cite
Shah, A. (2014), ‘The muck of the past’: revolution, social transformation, and the Maoists in India. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 20: 337–356. doi: 10.1111/1467-9655.12107
- Issue online: 30 APR 2014
- Version of Record online: 30 APR 2014
This article analyses revolutionary social change by exploring how people attempt to create a radically different future by taking action in the present, and the challenges that beset this transformation. Examining the relationship between the future, the present, and the past, the article takes the case of the spread of armed underground Maoist guerrillas in India to ask two questions: First, why does India hang on to this form of utopianism when the rest of the world appears to have abandoned it? Second, how and why does the ‘muck of the past’ influence the production of a radically different future? In answering these questions, this article suggests that for both processes of radical social change and our theories of them, we need to reinsert our analyses of politico-economic conditions into our ideologies of social change.