Community, in Nation's Name

The Management and Marketing Research Group warmly invite you to join Dr Arun Kumar from the Essex Business School.

  • Wed 15 Dec 21

    13:00 - 14:00

  • Online

    Join this seminar

  • Event speaker

    Dr Arun Kumar, Essex Business School

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    Management and Marketing Group Research Seminar Series

  • Event organiser

    Essex Business School

  • Contact details

    Dr Atika Kemal

The Management and Marketing Research Group at the Essex Business School welcome Dr Arun Kumar as he discusses his work on Indian Business Elites and their philanthropy and development imaginaries.

Seminar abstract

In this presentation, Dr Kumar probes the entanglements of development’s universal imperative with the modernity and the national question in India. Focusing on the history of Indian business elites’ philanthropy and their imaginaries of “community”, which constitutes one of the key development sites.

At the turn of the twentieth century, business elites began to move away from traditional charity within their own communities, in the name of national advancement. In the first half of the twentieth century, they funded rural reconstruction programmes: inspired in large part by Gandhian “constructive programme” and ideas of “community reform.” Such “modern” programmes were framed, Dr Kumar argues, as critiques of colonial modernity, nationalist logic of Swadeshi and self-reliance, and self-reform, albeit limited.

Post-colonialism, elites’ philanthropy gravitated towards modernization as national development, promoting self-help and responsibility over dependence on state and/or markets.

Their development imaginaries, however, remained limited throughout as they propagated what is called ‘circumscribed modernity’ that tended to leave earlier caste, religious, and class hierarchies wholly intact. Such exclusions were justified, deemed desirable even, because they were in the national interest.


How to attend this seminar

This seminar is free to attend with no need to book in advance.

We welcome you to join us online on Wednesday 15 December 2021 at 1pm


Speaker bio

Dr.Arun Kumar is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Essex.

He researches the histories and practices of development, with a particular interest in the influential role of individuals, institutions and logics from the worlds of business and management on development.

His interdisciplinary research has been published, among others, in AMLE, Business & Society, Development & Change, Economy & Society, Enterprise & Society, etc.



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