Center for Public Affairs and Critical Theory : Centers & Institutes : Shiv Nadar University
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Center for Public Affairs and Critical Theory (C-PACT)

The Centre for Public Affairs and Critical Theory (C-PACT) is affiliated to SHSS at Shiv Nadar University. The Centre has undertaken research on an initial set of deeply inter-connected core themes concerning some of India’s most important but neglected public goods, critically significant for the lives and livelihoods of millions, as also for the very future of India’s much-coveted growth process: land, water, agriculture and health.

Centre for Public Affairs and Critical Theory (C- PACT) was established under the aegis of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SoHSS), Shiv Nadar University to pursue inter-disciplinary research on social policies. The Center belives that it is important to examine social reality from diverse perspectives so that the outcomes of such exercises are accessible across academic specialties and to the members of the general public.

C-PACT’s research on social policy aims to meet the highest academic standards such that they contribute to scholarship as well as to actual policy formulations on the ground. By converting research into viable solutions C-PACT aims to address the pressing problems of the day without being partisan or biased towards any political or academic persuasion. In the ultimate analysis, scholars and fellows of C-PACT hope to advance citizenship in practice through their research activities.

To know more about the Center and its activities, please contact:

Dr. Ajay Dandekar -

Head, Center for Public Affairs and Critical Theory (C-PACT)

The Commodification of India’s Health Care Services: Public Interest, Policy and Costly Choices

Book Chapter

Gill, Kaveri. 2018.  “The Commodification of India’s Health Care Services: Public Interest, Policy and Costly Choices.” In Healers or Predators: Health Care Corruption in India, edited by Nundy, Samiran, Desiraju, Keshav, and Sanjay Nagral, 61-86. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

The Waste Land

The history of 19th-century Calcutta is inseparable from the advent and expansion of one of India’s oldest industries—jute. A trend that started in Rishra in Hooghly district in 1855 soon spread to either side of the Hooghly river in southwest Bengal. In a span of five decades there were close to a hundred operating mills (employing over 3,00,000 workers by 1920), consuming more jute than the rest of the world put together. The requirement for sandbags in World War I further escalated the demand for jute.

Peer Reviewed Images: Image Consuming Selves as Visual Commodities

The article addresses how popular imageries of ideal body types and their circulation inspires the construction of similar body ideals to be achieved through body work, body care and body control. While demonstrating a composite relationship between the ‘image’ and the ‘body’, it renders the interdependency and inseparability of these two entities, capturing the dual process of consuming images of the ideal body and transforming body into images for consumption.

Navigating the Anarchy of Debris: Observing the Loss of Material Sovereignty

This essay is an immersive exploration of an abandoned industrial site, which addresses the degeneration of materials and the imagery of ruination. By visually exposing slices of an abandoned jute mill, I reveal how the experience of walking through such a space subverts normative modes of movement, vision, arrangement, and order while also drawing attention to how things lose their distinct material identities as they decay. Read more to click the link:

fterlife of Things in a Delhi Junkyard: The Liminal Debris of Consumer Culture

The trajectory of “things” that are declared obsolete is mapped to argue that a junkyard is not merely a repository of the redundant, but also a liminal space between waste and trash, as well as use and reuse. An exploration of a junkyard in the Mayapuri neighbourhood of Delhi reveals how value is extracted from waste, bypassing the imposed norms of planned obsolescence in order to induce life into the lifeless.

Unqualified Medical Practitioners: Their Illegal but Indispensable Role in Primary Health Care

Journal Article

Some of the critical facets of medical practice by unqualified medical practitioners in India are explored: their role in treating acute medical conditions, and the responses of poor households eager to recover quickly with minimal spending. The study reveals how a wide range of associated actors are connected to the UMPs, including lawmakers, regulators, health managers, and those who benefit from the UMPs, that is, mainly qualified doctors.

A State In Periphery: Social Memory And Sikkim

The research for this project shall establish a formal archive of ‘great many human-interest stories’ of Sikkim in near contemporary times. Sikkim is an important frontline state of the Indian Union, and local perceptions of its political fortunes allow an understanding of the contemporary dynamics that are internal to the state and those in relation to its external frontiers. The project strives to collect different voices from among the different representative segments of the population, and shall lead to the documentation of oral histories.

Unqualified Medical Practitioners In India

The project is is based upon first hand observations from field surveys in the district of Panipat in Haryana and research of published work relating to the medical treatment provided by Unqualified Medical Practitioners. The combination of these two inputs present the status of health care in informal settings and the dependence of poor people on unqualified medical practitioners, despite such practice being completely illegal.