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Ashis Nandy and the Cultural Politics of Selfhood

by Christine Deftereos SAGE Publications Pvt. Ltd
Pub Date:
Hbk 280 pages
AU$75.00 NZ$76.52
Product Status: In Stock Now
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& Academics:
Ashis Nandy and the Cultural Politics of Selfhood gives the reader an insight into a novel aspect of Nandy. The author insists that Ashis Nandy is not merely a self-described political psychologist; he is also an intellectual street fighter who comes face to face with the psychology of politics and the politics of psychology, thus affirming why this intellectual is one of the most original and confronting Indian thinkers of his generation.

The main features of this book are its original reading and the authentic use of the psychoanalytic theory to characterise and demonstrate the importance of psychoanalysis in Nandy's work. This innovative reading of Nandy's psychoanalytic approach is explored through his writings on secularism and the rise of Hindu fundamentalism, before looking at how this also operates in The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialsim (1983) Nandy's best-known book, and across his work more broadly. In doing so the author details the way Nandy confronts his own postcolonial identity and the complexities of the cultural politics of selfhood as a feature of his approach, an arresting and confronting task that can have a disarming effect. It affirms Nandy's significance as a contemporary chronicler whose social and political criticism resonates beyond India.

The book will find a market in libraries of institutions as well as centres of learning, which offer degrees in Philosophy, Psychology and Cultural Studies.

Introduction: Intellectual Streetfighting-From the Symptomatic to the Psychotherapeutic
The Pathologies of Secularism
Containing Indianness: Secularism versus Hindutva?
The Conceptual Battleground of Anti-Secularism and Culturalism
Critique at the Threshold of Politics
Revolt and the Role of the Critic
The Psychotherapeutic as a Mode of Social Criticism
Conclusion: Re-imaginings in the Cultural Politics of Selfhood

Ashis Nandy and the Cultural Politics of Selfhood is a great starting point for those grappling with Nandy’s vast corpus for the first time… [the author] has certainly done a commendable job …by arriving at a balanced and, most importantly, an intuitively agreeable assessment of the intellectual works of a purportedly anti-intellectual public thinker…. Deftereos handles them beautifully, pinning and unpinning each of the threads from and within the larger spool of the ungovernable ‘Nandyisms’….[The book] attempts only to understand, and not classify, the unclassifiable Ashis Nandy.

The Millennium Post
Christine Deftereos is a social theorist whose writings explore the relationship between self and society. Her research interests take place at the intersection between contemporary social and political criticism, psychoanalytic theory and the politics of selfhood. With a specialized interest in postcolonial identities and South Asian politics, her work also explores processes of identification and the limits of identity politics.