Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Inhuman development: Globalization and the increasing intolerance of the Indian middle class
by Surendra, Shanna Dietz, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2010, 264; 3408100
Abstract (Summary)

In this dissertation, I analyze the relationship between economic globalization and communal identity by focusing on the experience of Hyderabad, India. In the last two decades, Hyderabad has emerged as one of the world's primary information technology (IT) centers, and while its participation in global commerce has propelled the city forward, it has simultaneously been afflicted by substantial inter-religious conflict. The scholarly literature has fallen short in its attempted reconciliation of this dialectic, thus underscoring the need for a theoretical framework which not only empirically links globalization and communal identity, but also explains the diverse range of experiences among different communities.

In an effort to answer how and why communal identities endure among certain populations, I isolate globalization as a potential causal variable. I do so by examining the communal identities of individuals who have been both positively and negatively affected by globalization and estimating the degree to which their communal identities have changed in the decades since India liberalized its economy. Through over 450 surveys I find that communal identity as a value endures not only among the lower class of uneducated Hyderabadis, but also among the well-educated middle classes. In attempting to explain why this is the case, I draw upon over 40 interviews to argue that the persistence of communal identity among both lower class and modern, educated middle class Indians can best be understood as a consequence of multiple forms of globalization-driven competition between Hindus and Muslims. I assert that this competition, insecurity and volatility is further exacerbated by an economic development that relies upon foreign entities.

At a time when world religions serve as markers of difference and symbols of power or powerlessness, an in-depth investigation into the role of religious identification in development will elicit valuable lessons applicable to states as well as to non-state, transnational actors. Thus, lessons drawn from the Hyderabadi case will shed light upon both theoretical and practical discussions of global development and modernization around the world.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Robinson, Jean C.
Commitee: Kasza, Gregory J., Morris Maclean, Lauren, Parameswaran, Radhika
School: Indiana University
Department: Political Science
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 71/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: International law, South Asian Studies
Keywords: Communal identity, Globalization, Hindu-Muslim conflict, Information technology, International development, Political economy
Publication Number: 3408100
ISBN: 978-1-124-03953-4
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