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Unit information: Politics of Contemporary India in 2020/21

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Unit name Politics of Contemporary India
Unit code POLI31563
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Wyatt
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

The profiles the politics of modern India. In contemporary narratives India is depicted as a thriving democracy, a rising power and a hub of economic dynamism. This unit investigates these narratives looking into the political forces that are said to constitute a 'New India'. Students will review in depth the claims made for India's democracy. The claims made for India's new foreign policy will be assessed. India will be assessed in terms of the political economy literature. The unit will examine new cultures of consumption alongside the continuing problem of massive poverty. Students will be encouraged to think critically about the ways in which these issues are construed and bought to resolution within the Indian political system.


  • To introduce students to key narratives used to describe and construct accounts of the politics of modern India
  • To introduce students to key texts on Indian politics which provide theoretical interpretations of Indian politics
  • To demonstrate how leading political issues are refracted through Indian popular culture
  • To develop a critical understanding of Indian politics.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this unit students will:

  • Students will demonstrate familiarity with the key narratives used to describe and construct accounts of Indian politics
  • Students will be able to their own theoretically informed analysis of modern Indian politics
  • Students will have read and applied material from the key 'texts' on Indian politics
  • Students will be able to integrate empirical evidence into conceptually grounded arguments and articulate these in seminars and written work

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught through blended learning methods, including a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching activities

Assessment Information

2,000 word essay (25%) 2,500 word essay (75%)

Both assessments test all learning outcomes

Reading and References

  • Corbridge, S, & Harriss, J (2003) Reinventing India: liberalization, Hindu Nationalism and Popular Democracy, Delhi: Oxford University Press.
  • Fernandes, L. (2006) India's New Middle Class, Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press.
  • Guha, R (2007) India after Gandhi, London: Macmillan.
  • Wyatt, A. (2006) 'Building the Temples of Postmodern India: Economic Constructions of National Identity', Contemporary South Asia, 14: 465-80.