ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Political Economy of India’s New Middle Class

Beyond Consumption: India’s New Middle Class in the Neo-Liberal Times edited by Manish K Jha and Pushpendra, London: Routledge, 2022; pp xviii + 205, `995.

There has been much academic focus on the expansion of the middle class in India even as there does not seem to be much concurrence about the various segments of this grouping, especi­ally the ones that actually constitute/represent this social cate­gory. Sifting through the scholarly literature on the middle class, it comes across as a “notoriously loose”/“indeterminate social cate­gory” with a “questionable explanatory value” (Deshpande 2003: 129; Joshi 2010: 1; Saavala 2010). The post-1990s India has witnessed the ­entry of a range of new social categories divi­ded broadly in social/spatial terms and also in terms of their orientations and choices. This may be attributed to several factors like the spread of education in ­Indian languages, growing urbanisation and industrialisation, affirmative action policies, and vast expansion of public sector jobs under a developmental welfare state. This explains why unlike the usage of rich or poor class in a singular form, the middle class is often refe­rred to in a plural form.

Essays in this edited volume, as the ­title itself suggests, focuses on the “new” middle class situated in the urban spaces, mostly big metropolitan cities, across the geographical regions of India and belonging to different communities. The editors suggest that the members of the “new” middle class are those

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Updated On : 10th Jul, 2022
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