Organising Tataland, the modern nation:a history of development in post/colonial India

Kumar, Arun (2015) Organising Tataland, the modern nation:a history of development in post/colonial India. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

[thumbnail of 2016kumarphd]
PDF (2016kumarphd)
2016kumarphd.pdf - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 31 March 2025.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs.

Download (2MB)


Development in the post/colonial world is premised on the twin logics of modernization and nation-building, of which the latter has received little attention in post-development studies, and relatedly Management and Organisation Studies (MOS). This thesis interrogates – historically and critically – the imaginaries of modernity and nationalism, and later nation-building, that have animated development in post/colonial India. It draws on the history of philanthropy of the Tata Group, one of India’s leading global business group. In Part I of the thesis, the shifts in these imaginaries are mapped and explained; the history of organisation and management of development is presented in Part II; and the purposive organisation of history and historiography is presented in Part III. The thesis makes the following contributions: empirically, this research revises critically and updates the history of the Tatas’ philanthropy. It makes a methodological contribution by drawing attention to the constructed nature of history and historiography, which is used purposively towards maintaining the Group’s identity. Conceptually, this is ‘a’ history of development in post/colonial India; which it is argued can be interrogated substantively though Chatterjee’s reconceptualisation of civil society, political society, and population. It draws attention to the ‘pedagogic reflex’ of the elite and the crucial role of corporate philanthropy in the constitution of the ‘population’ as part of development. Departing from Chatterjee’s demarcation of civil and political societies as empirically distinct, the thesis makes a case for using these as conceptual apparatuses. The thesis provides a corrective to post-development studies and related work in MOS, by instantiating the national question at the centre of development in post/colonial India. Displacing ‘Third Worldism’, it traces the origin and history of development-management in another place and time, outside postWorld War II and Cold War geo-politics. The thesis makes a modest but generative theoretical contribution by drawing attention to Chatterjee’s remarkable work and provides an alternate set of conceptual resources, hitherto little used in MOS.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
15 Jan 2016 09:10
Last Modified:
16 Sep 2023 02:45