Join us for a talk by Dr. Ravinder Kaur, Associate Professor of Modern South Asian Studies and Director or the Centre of Global South Asian Studies at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
This paper examines the making of the political category of aam aadmi in post-reform India. Through a visual archive of popular campaigns, I show how and when the category of the people is displaced by the aam aadmi as a central figure in Indian politics. While most studies locate the emergence of aam aadmi as a political category in the anti-corruption movement, I trace its genealogy to a prior moment in the liberalization of Indian economy. In this formative moment we can witness how the linkages between Indias desires for open markets, aspiration of upward class mobility, and deep anxiety of losing the race to become a global player forms the background against which the common man makes its appearance as a political figure. I consider the nature of the political that this shift indicates within the wider currents of 1990s economic liberalization.