#TVFB (The View From Below, August 01, 2015):

Do you hate beggars? Can one think of the above-below topography using both perspective as well as relationality? Is there an invisibilisation and dispersal of the hegemons? What does it mean to be at the very bottom? Is there a social responsibility of capital? Why does the below always have a hidden character, & why is there no giving of dignity to a full corporeal person? Why does a musahar woman own a broken-up dis-assembled bicycle? Are we as a society actively at war against the destitute – why? Are we actively creating destitution (& dispossession)? Is there always a dialectic unity between prosperity and misery? Who is the primary client of the state? How do you view taxes? Do we need to identify with the below? Is it possible to lose the above below through a new imaginary? What are the limits of solidarity? Is solidarity expensive? Why do moral arguments have so little traction? What is the universe of those with whom we are willing to share? Why are there The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas? It’s all the same people, right? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions, about destitution in a general sense, using concepts from human rights (Harsh Mander, New Delhi), social anthropology (Prof. Shalini Randeria, The Graduate Institute, Geneva), and social theory & literature (Prof. Kumkum Sangari, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee).

Listen in…

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TVFB show.

Harsh Mander (social justice, writing) is a human rights worker, writer, columnist, scholar and teacher. He works with survivors of mass violence, hunger, homeless persons and street children. His books include ‘Unheard Voices: Stories of Forgotten Lives’, ‘The Ripped Chest: Public Policy and the Poor in India’, ‘Fear and Forgiveness: The Aftermath of Massacre’, ‘Fractured Freedom: Chronicles from India’s Margins’, ‘Untouchability in Rural India’ (co-authored), ‘Ash in the Belly: India’s Unfinished Battle against Hunger’ and ‘Looking Away: Inequality, Prejudice and Indifference in New India’. He writes and speaks regularly on issues of social justice, and also regularly contributes columns for The Hindu, and Hindustan Times, and scholarly journals. He teaches courses on poverty and governance in IIM, Ahmedabad. His past teaching assignments include LBS National Academy of Administration (Mussoorie), St Stephen’s College (Delhi), Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution (Jamia). He has also lectured at California Institute of Integral Studies (San Francisco), Centre for Law and Governance (JNU), IDS (Sussex), NALSAR (Hyderabad), MIT (Boston), UCLA, Stanford, Austin, among others.

Prof. Shalini Randeria (social anthropology) is Professor of Social Anthropology and Sociology at The Graduate Institute (Geneva), since fall of 2012, and also the Rector of the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna. She is also a visiting professor at the Social Science Research Centre Berlin (WZB). She is a former member of the Senate of the German Research Council (DFG), President of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) and a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies (Berlin). She was formerly Max Weber Professor for Sociology at the University of Munich, Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Zurich as well as Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology of the Central European University, Budapest. She has published widely on the anthropology of globalisation, law, the state and social movements. Her empirical research on India also addresses issues of post-coloniality and multiple modernities. Her most recent publications include the edited volumes – ‘Anthropology, Now and Next: Diversity, Connections, Confrontations, Reflexivity’ (in press), ‘Vom Imperialismus zum Empire: Nicht-westliche Perspektiven auf Globalisierung’, Frankfurt/M. (2009), ‘Unraveling Ties: From Social Cohesion to New Practices of Connectedness’, Frankfurt/M. (2002).

Prof. Kumkum Sangari (literature, social theory) is currently the William F. Vilas Research Professor of English and the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has worked as a UGC Professorial Fellow at the Centre for Contemporary Studies, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. She has published extensively on British, American and Indian literature, critical  theory, religious conversion, medieval oral devotional traditions, nationalist figures such as Gandhi and Annie Besant, Bombay cinema and partition, televisual memory, contemporary feminist art practice as well as contemporary gender issues such as personal law, domestic labour, the beauty industry, sex selection, dowry, domestic violence, widow immolation and communal violence. She is the author of ‘Politics of the Possible: Essays on Gender, History, Narratives, Colonial English’, ‘SOLID : LIQUID: A (trans)national reproductive formation’, the editor of ‘Trace Retrace: Paintings, Nilima Sheikh’, and the co-editor of ‘Women and Culture, Recasting Women: Essays in Colonial History’, and ‘From Myths to Markets: Essays on Gender’.

Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

#TVFB mentions: Karl Marx, Mahatma Gandhi, Fredric Jameson, Barbara Harriss-White, Étienne Balibar, Ursula K. Le Guin, Jan Breman, & Noam Chomsky, among others.