Chasing InnovationMaking Entrepreneurial Citizens in Modern India

Chasing InnovationMaking Entrepreneurial Citizens in Modern India

Lilly Irani

Print publication date: 2019

ISBN: 9780691175140

Publisher: Princeton University Press


Can entrepreneurs develop a nation, serve the poor, and pursue creative freedom, all while generating economic value? This book shows the contradictions that arise as designers, engineers, and businesspeople frame development and governance as opportunities to innovate. The book documents the rise of “entrepreneurial citizenship” in India over the past seventy years, demonstrating how a global ethos of development through design has come to shape state policy, economic investment, and the middle class in one of the world's fastest-growing nations. The book chronicles the practices and mindsets that hold up professional design as the answer to the challenges of a country of more than one billion people, most of whom are poor. While discussions of entrepreneurial citizenship promise that Indian children can grow up to lead a nation aspiring to uplift the poor, in reality, social, economic, and political structures constrain whose enterprise, which hopes, and which needs can be seen as worthy of investment. In the process, the book warns, powerful investors, philanthropies, and companies exploit citizens' social relations, empathy, and political hope in the quest to generate economic value. The book argues that the move to recast social change as innovation, with innovators as heroes, frames others—craftspeople, workers, and activists—as of lower value, or even dangers to entrepreneurial forms of development. The book lays bare how long-standing power hierarchies such as class, caste, language, and colonialism continue to shape opportunity in a world where good ideas supposedly rule all.