Rethinking Social Theory

This course combines classical western social theory with Hindu social theory drawing primarily from – the Arthashastra and the Mahabharatha. The course will draw from both western and Hindu texts to give students an understanding of the ways in which state and governance were conceptualized in both these traditions. The course will provide a basis for understanding the origins of the citizen state relationship and make links to contemporary issues of citizenship and governance. It will engage with questions of the state and economy, to help students better understand contemporary issues of privatization and the corporate state. The course will draw from classical and contemporary texts to focus on contemporary issues in India – such as poverty, good governance debates, citizen participation, etc.



Kautilya’s Arthashastra, translated into English by R. Shamashastry, n.d.

Mahabharatha, Vol 5, Shreeman Maharishi Veda Vyasa Pranitha, Shanthi Parva, translated by Pandit Ramnarayandatta, Shastry Pandeya Rama, n.d.

Ananda K. Coomaraswamy (1978) Spiritual Auhtority and Temporal Power in the Indian Theory of Government, Munshiram, New Delhi.

Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan. Edited by Crawford Brough Macpherson. Penguin Classics, 1985.

Locke, John. “Second Treatise of Government,” in Two Treatises of Government. Edited by Peter Laslett. 3rd ed., 1988.

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Of the Social Contract, in The Social Contract and Other Later Political Writings. Edited and translated by Victor Gourevitch, 1997.

Marx, Karl. “Capital, volume I.” (1867)