SA071710_Advance_Mysore_Chandan_Gowda - SPECIAL ARTICLE vol...

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Unformatted text preview: SPECIAL ARTICLE July 17, 2010 vol xlv no 29 EPW Economic & Political Weekly 88 ‘Advance Mysore!’: The Cultural Logic of a Developmental State Chandan Gowda What governs state interests in development in formerly colonised societies? Conventional social science accounts stress politico-economic variables, particularly the need for capital accumulation. By means of a detailed analysis of the Bhadravati Iron Works, an ambitious industrial project in the state of Mysore in colonial India, it is demonstrated that mechanisms are also important in state-led development. Locational disadvantages, technical problems, and increased production costs made the iron plant an unprofitable venture from its inception. The state, however, kept the plant operational on grounds of its pedagogic value for local society. A claim for civilisational recognition for India’s capacity for development, which was expressed from within the conceptual parameters of mercantilist, social evolutionist and orientalist thought, provides the cultural logic of the developmental state in Mysore. The author is grateful to Jeffery Paige, George Steinmetz, Sumathi Ramaswamy, Julia Adams, Lee Schlesinger, Shiv Visvanathan, U R Ananthamurthy, Laura Brown, Ou-Byung Chae, Vikas Kumar, Jayati Lal, Ching Kwan Lee, Siddharth Mallavarapu, Prithvi Datta Chandra Shobhi, Tom Trautmann, A R Vasavi and Dhulipala Venkat for their comments on this paper. Versions of this paper have been presented at the Departments of Sociology at Michigan and Princeton and at the Annual South Asia Conference at Madison in 2005. The author is thankful for comments from the audiences here. This author is also grateful to the American Institute of Indian Studies, the National Science Foundation and the Rackham School of Graduate Studies, University of Michigan for research support. Chandan Gowda ( [email protected] ) is with the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion, National Law School of India, Bangalore. S ocial science scholarship on the developmental state has provided only formal internalist explanations; that is, it has presumed the latter as a political entity committed to fostering economic growth and then proceeded to theorise the institutional conditions of its effective functioning or otherwise (Amsden 1989; Evans 1995; Johnson 1982; Kohli 2004; Lange and Rueschemeyer 2005; Sikkink 1991; Wade 1990). 1 A recent defini- tion of the developmental state illustrates this primacy of the eco- nomic focus: “We define developmental states as organisational complexes in which expert and coherent bureaucratic agencies collaborate with organised private sector to spur national eco- nomic transformation” (Doner, Ritchie and Slater 2005: 328)....
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SA071710_Advance_Mysore_Chandan_Gowda - SPECIAL ARTICLE vol...

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