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This volume reflects Beteille's engagement with the conception of formal, legal, political institutions (Parliament, Judiciary, and political parties), and practices in specific domains of public and political life- rule of law, constitutional morality, the opposition-without which democracies cannot function or survive. The focus on institutions highlights the divergence between ideal and practice in the operation of democracy. The author contends that the institutions of civil society require an effective constitutional framework for their proper functioning, and that such a framework suffers when social movements set themselves continuously against the State's authority. The relationship between government and opposition acquires great value and significance in a democracy, and this issue has been examined in detail. The volume not only points to what remains neglected in the study of democracy but also offers an understanding of the ground on which democracies rest.
Andre Beteille, FBA, is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Delhi and National Research Professor.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements Introduction 1. The Institutions of Democracy 2. Government and Opposition 3. Civil Society and the State 4. Constitutional Morality 5. Can Rights Undermine Trust? How Institutions Work and Why They Fail 6. Caste and the Citizen 7. Pluralism and Liberalism 8. Law and Custom 9. Sociology and Ideology Index