Provinciality Is a Boon, Not a Curse: Renewing Mahatma Gandhi's Call for Swadeshi in a Global Economy


Reshmi Sen

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 1-1-2007



Submission Type


Degree Name



Communication and Rhetorical Studies


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Pat Arneson

Committee Member

Ronald C. Arnett

Committee Member

Janie Harden Fritz

Committee Member

Kathleen Glenister Roberts


hermeneutics, India Shining Campaign, Mahatma Gandhi, provinciality, semiotics, swadeshi


The word "provinciality" is increasingly assuming a negative connotation. Some of the implications of the word can range from narrow mindedness, anti-global, prejudice, and non-acceptance, to name a few. The consumer culture in a neoliberalistic economy is questioning the spirit of nationalism. The patriotic process of nation building is at odds with the neoliberalistic economy that focuses on "bringing business" without considering the needs or the social milieu of the nation. In the present historical moment, as we go beyond the euphoria of open-trade, global partnership, global culture--we now face a different problem framed by advanced capitalism--narcissism, existential homelessness, and the culture of silence have pervaded major areas of communicative activities. A renewed understanding of provinciality will enable us to grapple these forces and negotiate the meaning of nationalism. At this critical juncture, provinciality emerges as a boon and not a curse within the global life of a nation. Provinciality builds the nation by weaving trust and loyalty in the history of the country. In this kairotic moment, provinciality emerges as a metaphor that provides the common center, embeds the self, and recreates the local consciousness within the roots and the traditions of the country. Through provinciality, the communicative behavior of individuals is rebuild and transformed. Mahatma Gandhi envisioned swadeshi a philosophy that supports self-sustaining local economies providing resilience to global economic turbulence. This philosophy is grounded in the strength of local communities, cottage industries. Though Mahatma Gandhi's utopian philosophy has been critiqued for being overtly idealistic, I argue that provinciality is necessary to renew Gandhi's call for swadeshi in a global economy.





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