Policy Engagements and Blogs

Subnationalism and Social Development in India

February 23, 2017
23 February 2017
Subnationalism and Social Development in India


The place you live in has a huge impact on your life. Why are some places in the world, and indeed even within the same country, characterised by better social service provision and welfare outcomes than others? Why have Indian states remained worlds apart in their social development, especially if they started at a similar point in history, if their trajectories were to be traced, such as in the case of Kerala and Uttar Pradesh.

Drawing on a multi-method study, from the late nineteenth century to the present of the stark variations in educational and health outcomes within a large, federal, multi-ethnic developing country like India, Dr Prerna Singh’s book ‘How Solidarity Works for Welfare: Subnationalism and Social Development in India’ develops an argument for the power of collective identity, or subnationalism, as a driver of social welfare.

Singh discusses her book at CPR, explaining the central argument by comparing the different states of India, through:

  • A podcast (above); and
  • A talk, the audio recording of which can be accessed here.

Prerna Singh is Mahatma Gandhi Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Studies and Fellow at the Watson Institute, Brown University. Her book is a winner of the Woodrow Wilson Prize awarded by the American Political Science Association for the best book published in politics and international relations in 2015, and Barrington Moore prize awarded by the American Sociological Association for the best book published in comparative historical sociology in 2015.