The Political Project of Postcolonial Neoliberal Nationalism

Kaul, N. 2019. The Political Project of Postcolonial Neoliberal Nationalism. Indian Politics & Policy. 2 (1), pp. 3-30. doi:10.18278/inpp.2.1.2

TitleThe Political Project of Postcolonial Neoliberal Nationalism
TypeJournal article
AuthorsKaul, N.
Abstract

The starting point of this article is the recognition of globally proliferating right-wing electoral successes of a specific kind that rely upon a weaving together of seemingly contradictory aspects of neoliberalism and nationalism. An important dimension of these globally occurring changes is that they reflect something more than simply the empirical instantiation of a right-wing success in any one specific context. They require us to unravel and understand the transmutations in the nature of the political and the economic in the contemporary postcolonial world. Here, I focus on the relevance of uncovering the powerful weave of nationalism, neoliberalism, and postcolonialism that lies behind such configurations of power; a governmentality I refer to as PNN (postcolonial neoliberal nationalism). An understanding of PNN requires us to challenge the a priori availability to analysis of either neoliberalism or nationalism in isolation; neoliberalism and nationalism are not only not contradictory to each other, but as projects of re-forming imaginaries, they co-constitute the ideas of “market/economy” and “nation/culture.” Further, PNN makes visible the ambivalent status of “the West,” since it is imbued with the historical legacy of colonial memory re-called into the present as a revanchist pride, and combined with the conflicting aspirational/actual consumption desires to emulate the capitalist imperial metropolitan fantasies. I use the example of India to illustrate how PNN has been enacted as a technique of governmentality by the Modi-led BJP government through the reformulation of Swadeshi and the Make in India project.

KeywordsNationalism, Neoliberalism, India, Postcolonial, Modi, Swadeshi, Governmentality, Hindutva, Economy, Culture
JournalIndian Politics & Policy
Journal citation2 (1), pp. 3-30
ISSN2573-8054
Year2019
PublisherThe Policy Studies Organization (PSO)
Publisher's versionKaul_2019.pdf
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.18278/inpp.2.1.2
Publication dates
Published01 Mar 2019
LicenseCC BY-NC-ND 4.0

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