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The Imperialism of Categories: Situating Knowledge in a Globalizing World

  • Susanne Hoeber Rudolph (a1)

In February 1957 Lloyd Rudolph and I set forth into the “heat and dust” villages of Thanjavur district, South India, with 10 Indian graduate students from Madras Christian College. Our objective was to conduct a survey on political consciousness. Six hundred urban and rural Tamils scattered across three districts constituted the random sample we had selected from the first electoral rolls of recently freed India. V. O. Key, that witty and groundbreaking doyen of electoral behavior analysis, had enticed us into survey research. Upon our return, the Michigan Survey Research Center provided a methodologically intense summer.Susanne Rudolph is the William Benton Distinguished Service Professor Emerita of Political Science at the University of Chicago and past president of the American Political Science Association ( She studies comparative politics with special interest in the political economy and political sociology of South Asia, state formation, Max Weber, and the politics of category and culture. An earlier version of this address was presented at the annual meeting of the association on September 2, 2004.

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Perspectives on Politics
  • ISSN: 1537-5927
  • EISSN: 1541-0986
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