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Title: State and society relationships: explaining the Kerala experience
Author: Cairó i Céspedes, Gemma
Keywords: Estat
Issue Date: 2001
Publisher: University of California Press
Abstract: It is unusual to find experiments on human and social development in developing countries. However, an exception is to be found in the Indian state of Kerala. This interaction, referred to as the Kerala model, allows connections to be made between high levels of human development and the political and social forces at work in society. Numerous scholars have studied the Kerala model in an attempt to identify what lies at the heart of the Kerala experience and determine the sustainability of the model. The first strand of literature seeks to use the model in order to explain the achievements of this Indian state in the fields of education and health. The second strand attempts to analyze the increasing inability of the state to meet its fiscal deficits and the consequent danger to social development associated with the maintenance of this model. For a better understanding of the Kerala model it is necessary to explain what lies behind the Kerala experience. The main aim of this article is thus to link the Kerala model to the nature of the state of Kerala and its social characteristics. It is assumed here that only by taking into account the state-society relationships in the context of the Indian state of Kerala will it be possible to comprehend the essence of the Kerala experience. At the same time, this project can provide some useful background for assessing the future prospects in developing countries. The theoretical approach for this analysis will be based on a consideration of the peripheral capitalist state's roles in the process of capital accumulation and especially in both resource mobilization and the development of its distributive functions. The analysis will also take into consideration the fact that both economic and non-economic forces in general can influence these statedeveloped functions. In the case of Kerala, this implies that the present study will focus on how the state's different social groups were able to influence and pressure the state in order to fulfill their own interests, and the ways that this in turn produced Kerala's distributive model. By these means, I hope to be able to explain not only how the state has achieved its high level of human development, but also how the continuing trade-off between distribution and growth has been unleashed and settled in the Kerala economy. The state's unique experience will also show the specificity of the process of social change the local society has faced, one that has been marked by a transformation in the social consciousness of the Kerala population in their historical development. This article is divided into three sections. The first section embraces the two points mentioned above. State-society relations provide the general framework for this essay, including the role of the capitalist state in developing countries and the main features of the Kerala experience. In the second section I will analyze the social and political factors that have led to the Kerala model. The third section will conclude by linking state-society relationships in Kerala with the achievements this society has reached in the sphere of human development.
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It is part of: Asian Survey, 2001, vol. 41, num. 4, p. 669-692
ISSN: 0004-4687
Appears in Collections:Articles publicats en revistes (Història Econòmica, Institucions, Política i Economia Mundial)

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