• Sociological knowledge and colonial power in Bombay around the First World War

    Henrik Chetan Aspengren (see profile)
    Science, History, South Asia, Area studies
    Item Type:
    History of science, South Asian studies
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    By the turn of the twentieth century a distinct ‘social domain’ – along with its constituent parts, problems and internal dynamics – was turned into a political entity, and a concern for state bureaucracies existed across the industrializing world. Specific motivations for this trend may have varied from location to location, but included arguments for higher industrial productivity and less political discontent, often intertwined with a humanitarian impulse in calls for better housing, expanded public health or improved working conditions. As has been well documented, the politicization of the social domain in early twentieth-century Britain owes much to the consolidation of British sociology as a distinct discipline. Yet while the link between the rise of social politics and sociology has been established with regard to Britain, little has been said about the occurrence of this coupling elsewhere in the twentieth-century British Empire. This article aims to rectify that omission by showing the interplay between newly raised social concerns of the colonial administration in the Bombay Presidency, Western British India, and the establishing of sociological research within the borders of the Presidency around the time of the First World War. The article will explore how the colonial administration in Bombay planned to meet new demands for sociological knowledge in colonial state policy, how sociology was subsequently introduced into the Presidency as a research subject, and how new sociological methods were applied in actual colonial government.
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Last Updated:
    7 years ago
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