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Ananta Kumar Giri

Ananta Kumar Giri

Abstract

Sociology reflects some of the fundamental assumptions of modernity. As an enterprise of knowledge, sociology reflects the modernistic privileging of epistemology to the neglect of ontological cultivation. The present article seeks to go beyond some of our modernistic limitations and cultivate sociology as a creative engagement in ontological epistemology of participation.

Ananta Kumar Giri

Abstract

Debates and discussions in an intellectual field help us to come to terms with our existing condition and work towards its needed transformation. Debates and discussions have been very much part of traditions of sociological reflections in India. In the 1950s there was a debate about the 'book view' and 'field view' of studying Indian society in which the works of M. N. Srinivas and Louis Dumont were discussed. A recent debate has arisen on the need for Indian social sciences to overcome their entrenched parochial fixations and be simultaneously interested in fieldwork at home and the world. The article begins with this and discusses the need for Indian social sciences overcome their parochial fixation and simultaneously work with India and the world. This calls for overcoming the limits of loyalty such as uncritical loyalty to nation-state and cultivate a relationship of gratitude to both one's country and the world.

Ananta Kumar Giri

Ananta Kumar Giri

Abstract

In this paper, I explore the ideal of self-cultivation as it confronts the holders of power and our practice and understanding of ethics and aesthetics. I begin with the field of social development as an illustrative case of field of power that is in urgent need of a reconstructive and transformative practice of self-development. I take the ethical deliberations in the field of development, that is, development ethics as an exemplar of ethical reflection today, and look at aesthetics through the contemporary quest of and reflections on self-cultivation. Then, I discuss the challenge of recognizing the face of the other that the radical alterity of poverty presents to the quest for freedom, exercise of power and the ideal of self-cultivation. Through a dialogue with the face of the other, I wish in this paper to move from a self-congratulatory view of freedom as an assertion of one's rights to the terrain of what Emmanuel Levinas calls "difficult freedom", and reiterate the imperative of responsibility that knocks at our door — an imperative that disturbs our slumber and urges for a "permanent wakefulness" in us.The mission of development ethics is to keep hope alive. By any purely rational calculus of future probabilities, the development enterprise of most countries is doomed to fail. Poor classes, nations, and individuals can never catch up with their rich counterparts as long as they continue to consume wastefully and to devise ideological justifications for not practicing solidarity with the less developed. Only some transcultural calculus of hope, situated beyond apparent realms of possibility, can elicit the creative energies and vision which authentic development for all requires.