Chatterjee’s argument rests crucially on the distinction between civil and political society in India. The former coincides with corporate capital and is governed by the rule of law. Political society coincides with non-corporate capital and is marked by its inability to summon the legitimacy of law. In Chatterjee’s analysis, the present moment in Indian political economy is marked by the “ascendancy in the relative power of the corporate capitalist class as compared to the landed elites” (p 56). At the same time, “the urban middle class, which once played such a crucial role in producing and running the autonomous developmental state…, appears now to have largely come under the moral political sway of the bourgeoisie” (p 57).  These middle classes make up the domain of civil society in India; they are treated by the state as rights-bearing citizens in the sense imagined by the Constitution. However, large sections of the rural population and the urban poor are excluded from civil society. They inhabit the domain that Chatterjee terms “political society” and “make their claims on government, and in turn are governed, not within the framework of stable constitutionally defined rights and laws, but rather through temporary, contextual and unstable arrangements arrived at through direct political
negotiations...” - Amita Baviskar and Nandini Sundar, Democracy versus Economic
Transformation?, EPW, 15/11/2008,