3split the political space, and to conceptualize a domain, separate and distinct fromcivil society, i.e. political society.Thus, there are three issues which are at stake here: (i) the difference in ontology(/particular ways of life), (ii) the differentiation of political space, and (iii) thesignificance of formal and normative concepts vis-à-vis empirical context. Chatterjeetries to engage with these three issues to provide a theory of political society whichwill demonstrate the democratic urge and the expansion of freedom of the members of political society (i.e. subalterns) in India and other postcolonial countries. In otherwords, he attempts to develop a
normative theory of (populist) democracy
based onthe experience of postcolonial countries like India.
CHATTERJEE ON POLITICAL SOCIETY
Chatterjee’s advocacy for the identification of a different political space beyond civilsociety rests on three moves. First, he focuses attention on the sphere of governmentalinterventions where, he claims, a different kind of political engagement between thelegal-bureaucratic apparatus and the people who are excluded from civil society canbe witnessed.The post-colonial Indian state inherited the legal-bureaucratic apparatus, which is able“to reach as the target of many of its activities virtually all of the population thatinhabits its territory, [whereas] the domain of civil social institutions, [….] is stillrestricted to a fairly small section of ‘citizens’” (Chatterjee 2001, 172). According toChatterjee, this is a new paradigm, and there is a clear shift from the abstracttheoretical domain of citizenship to the actual domain of (public) policy. FollowingFoucault, he claims that the domain of policy is predicated upon a conception of thesociety as one constituted by
citizens or “elementary units of homogenous families” (Chatterjee 1998, 279; 2001, 173). “The regime secureslegitimacy not by the participation of citizens in the matters of state, but by claimingto provide for the well-being of the population” (Chatterjee 1998, 279). Thus,Chatterjee’s first move shifts the focus of political theory from the normative categoryof ‘citizen’ to the descriptive and empirical category of ‘population.’