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Swaraj in Gandhi and AAP: Anti-Political-Colonialism through Decentralisation

@ James Watt South Floor: 3 Room: J375, University of Glasgow, Scotland - September 5, 2014 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Cristiano Gianolla presents the Papaer: “Swaraj in Gandhi and AAP: Anti-Political-Colonialism through Decentralisation” at the ECPR General Conference 2014 (Glasgow).


Section: Elites and Citizens: Leadership, Responsiveness, or Distance?
Panel: Social and Political Foundations of Political Leadership


Participation in liberal democracy is exhausted by the vote though which the political elite is legitimised to take decisions for the whole society. The combination of power hold by few with the limited space for people’s participation besides the vote, favours the formation of an undemocratic socio-political system. In such a system, the political elite holds power to subdue society; this is defined “political-colonialism”. Measures to limit the impact of political-colonialism, and thereby democratise democracy, emerge in models of decentralised democracy enhancing power shared and wider people’s participation in the democratic socio-political sphere. The Mahatma Gandhi has developed a multicentre idea of democracy based on 700.000 Indian village republics. He used the word “Swaraj” (self-rule) to characterise this model. The Aam Aadmi Party today advocates Swaraj for villages and cities. This paper aims at exploring the idea and existing empirical cases of Swaraj and decentralised democracy in India.