The Pedagogical Account of Parliamentarism at India’s Founding

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This article explores a distinctive approach to parliamentarism advanced by key figures from India’s founding period in response to their anxieties about concerns about the masses’ backwardness alongside a commitment to democratic self-rule. Both these orientations, one democratic and the other, suspicious of the peoples’ political capacities, existed alongside each other in tension, generating a dilemma: how could the seemingly backward masses facilitate the overthrow of their backwardness in a democratic process? The thinkers studied in this article responded, I argue, with a pedagogical conception of parliamentarism, which viewed parliament and legislators as bearing the function of preparing the masses for democratic citizenship. Their approach represented a critical departure from the ideal of a deliberative legislative assembly at the apex of the law-making process, while avoiding strategies of exclusion historically associated with parliamentarism.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
Early online date3 Feb 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

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  • Democratic theory
  • Parliamentarism
  • Postcolonial Democracy

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