Jean Drèze, development economist, activist, and professor at Ranchi University (India) has come out with a new book entitled “Sense and Solidarity: Jholawala Economics for Everyone.” Drèze joined remotely to discuss his book on Friday, 24 November at 1pm at the Oxford Department of International Development. Seminar Room 3 at Queen Elizabeth House. 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, UK.
The book launch on the 24th began with a video on Aadhaar authentication and its impact on India’s poor. Drèze followed this with a discussion about the themes of his book, including the relationship between research and activism and the state of pro-poor activism in different sectors in India.
Professor Matthew McCartney, Director of South Asian Studies at the University of Oxford further expanded on the connections between high-quality research and policy impact and the responsibilities of academics. Dr Duncan Green, Senior Strategic Advisor at Oxfam GB likened Drèze to Orwell, given that the book covers some of the most interesting social change episodes in recent Indian history — changes in which Drèze participated. Describing Drèze as “fascinated by details that matter” and “steely but not shrill”, Green challenged the audience to consider a biography. DPhil candidates Soumya Mishra and Amogh Sharma shared their reflections on the book, with Mishra exploring new angles on Aadhaar authentication and migration and Sharma discussing the difficulty of generating the political will necessary to turn research into action.
The floor was then opened for questions from the audience, a packed crowd, many of whom stayed past the intended end time to continue listening to and engage with Drèze. The event was moderated by Sabina Alkire, Director of OPHI.
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