Centre for Comparative European Union Studies
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS)
Indian Institute of Technology Madras
1st International Workshop

Reinterpreting the State
The first international workshop of the Centre for Comparative European Union Studies (CCEUS) was held during 28 June-3 July 2010 at Industrial Consultancy and Sponsored Research, IIT Madras. The broad area of the workshop was Democracy, Global Politics and International Relations and the topic of the workshop is “Reinterpreting the State”. The workshop was organized around lectures delivered and readings selected by faculty and presentations by the participants. The participants ranged from disciplines within humanities and social sciences.
Workshop Outline:

Of all the concepts in social sciences, State remains one of the most contested categories precisely because of the kind of opinions it has evoked across the board: from the death of the State to the further strengthening of the State in 21st century, from a tangible means to solve problems and realise progress as was assumed till 19th century to the contemporary times where it is more often than not spoken of as the problem than as the solution. The theme of the workshop “Reinterpreting the State” attempts to situate the state not only as an abstraction which is how it has come to be treated in the literature of political science/social sciences by universalising what the state is but also as a reality encountered in everyday life.

The story of the modern State has witnessed quite a vicissitudes through its heydays when it was absolutist, totalitarian and personalized agency of monarchs in Europe to the one, translating Rousseauean concept of general will, claiming people as the sovereign. Popular sovereignty displaced the absolutist definition of monarchical sovereignty by locating the sovereignty in the nation and thus creating the nation-state. The emergence of modern State has historically been seen as a result of the Peace of Westphalia (1648) with its unilateral claims to monopolize sovereignty, legitimate use of force and to provide security inside and outside. All these claims now are frequently being questioned and hotly debated.

From feudal to modern to post-modern times, there is one undercurrent which remains constant and that is the inverse relationship between the State and the civil society: the more of former means less of latter and vice versa. It is absolutely necessary to understand concepts like cosmopolitanism, multiculturalism, the evolving ideas of citizenship and political community in order to comprehend contemporary contours of civil society because these are the ideas that cannot be explained or analysed sufficiently with reference to traditional understanding of the State, nationalism and sovereignty. Further, since the paradigmatic changes owing to the end of the Cold War and vastly accelerated speed of international processes like globalization have left the State with its sovereignty in a uniquely problematized condition, the workshop will address these and similar issues leading to an intense engagement with the very idea of the State in modern times.


Gerard Delanty is Professor of Sociology and Social & Political Thought at the University of Sussex, Brighton, UK. He is especially interested in the comparative analysis of modernity in global perspective and the implications of globalization for the analysis of the social world. He has more than a hundred papers on various issues in social and political theory, European identities, globalization, nationalism and the cultural and historical sociology of modernity. Some of his most important books are Inventing Europe (1995), Social Theory in a Changing World (1999) and The Cosmopolitan Imagination (2009). He is also the editor of European Journal of Social Theory.

Rajesh Rajagopalan is Professor and Chair, Centre for International Politics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. Before joining JNU, he was Senior Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi and Research Fellow at The Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. He also served as Deputy Secretary in the National Security Council Secretariat, Govt. of India. His areas of research interest are international relations theory, military doctrines and nuclear weapons & disarmament. His major books are Second Strike: Arguments about Nuclear War in South Asia (2005) and Fighting like a Guerrilla: The Indian Army and Counterinsurgency (2009).

  • Amitabh Singh, Assistant Professor, Dyal Singh College, Delhi
  • Animesh Mohapatra, Assistant Professor, University of Delhi, Delhi
  • Ashutosh Potdar, PhD Scholar, Shivaji University, Kolhapur
  • Bratati Dey, Lecturer, Dhruba Halder College, Kolkata
  • Biju Kumar V, Assistant Professor, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong, Meghalaya
  • Chandramouli T, Assistant Professor, RKM Vivekananda College, Chennai
  • Dasarathi Bhuyan, Lecturer, Bellallaguntha Science College (Berhampur University), Ganjam, Orissa.
  • Debashish Mitra, Assistant Professor, Fakir Chand College, Kolkata
  • Hemalatha Bhat, PhD Scholar, Pondicherry University
  • Jesudoss Arokiam S, Assistant Professor, Loyola College, Chennai
  • Jetson Satya Gospel, PhD Research Scholar, Guru Nanak College, Chennai
  • John Jacob J, PhD Scholar, IIT Madras
  • Josephine A, PhD Scholar, IIT Madras
  • Maheswar Satpathy, PhD Scholar, University of Delhi, Delhi
  • Malavika Menon, PhD Scholar, JNU, Delhi
  • Manasi Singh, PhD Scholar, JNU, Delhi
  • Manoj Parida, Lecturer, Patamundai College, Orissa
  • Mathew George, Fellow, Centre for Management Development, Trivandrum, Kerala
  • Mohin Mohammad, Lecturer, Christ College, Cuttack, Orissa
  • Nrusingha P Mishra, Lecturer, Patamundai Colege, Orissa
  • Parvathy Poornima, PhD Scholar, JNU, Delhi
  • Ranganathan B, Associate Professor, K.S.K.V. Kachchh University, Bhuj, Gujrath
  • Ruma Guha Associate Professor, Brahmananda Keshab Chandra College, Kolkata
  • Shipra R Upadhyay, PhD Scholar, Deccan College, Pune
  • Shipra Shukla, MA Student, JNU, Delhi
  • Sruthi Herbert, MPhil Student, Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum, Kerala
  • Supriya Gandhi, JRF Scholar, Pondicherry University
  • Yerankar S, Associate Professor, Jijamata Mahavidyalaya, Buldana, Maharashtra
Dept. of HSS IIT Madras India-EU Study Centre Programme