Forming States

Rajan Gurukkal is Vice Chancellor of M G University, Kottayam where earlier he has served as Professor and Director, School of Social Sciences.

OUP's recent Social Formations of Early South India is a collection of his essays that "presents an incisive analysis of social formations in modern linguistic states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala from pre-historic times to early medieval period.

This book examines the socio-economic and political processes in south India from ancient to early medieval period. It covers various aspects of social formations in south India-economy, technology, social relations, institutions, agrarian structure, political processes, state, writing, and so on. The collection is broadly organized into four parts: the methodological perspectives, pre-historic formations, agro-pastoral social formation, and agrarian social formation. The author also discusses problems related to the pre-historic and early historical periods and explores the factors that led to the end of the early historical and the beginning of early medieval period in south Indian history.

The author closely examines the transformation from agro-pastoral to agrarian social formation by exploring areas like economy, technology, historical processes of state formation. Special emphasis is laid on the transition from clan and lineage to hereditary occupations and caste, and the social implications of the spread of writing. He also discusses the structural and institutional features of the new social formation. What sets this volume apart is Gurukkal’s consistent theoretical position and methodological approach. It also showcases his exceptional familiarity with the sources— archaeological, epigraphical, and literary. The introduction provides a conceptual backdrop to the use of the term ‘social formation’ and also reviews some debates surrounding social change in south India."

In our History section, in hardcover, 388 pages. Rs 695, ISBN: 9780198064329