Compensatory Discrimination: Is a Theory of Social Construction of Target Population in Public Policy Possible in India?




Schneider and Ingram (1997) have theorised that policy design in U.S. democracy is dependent on the social construction of the target population. The paper tries to analyse how the social construction of the target population happens in India, and how it is different from the Western context. The case study of compensatory discrimination policy in India has been used to demonstrate the factors affecting policy design in India. It demonstrates that as we go into the narrow details of any policy, in a democracy, the space for political entrepreneurship increases, despite all institutional constraints. One of the important factors highlighted is the politics of social construction of knowledge in India. A theorisation of the social construction of the target population might be helpful as an analytical concept in public policy, but it is incomplete without an understanding of the political economy of any given policy in India.


Social Construction, Target Population, Knowledge, Compensatory Discrimination, Policy Design, Caste, Scheduled Castes, Other Backward Classes, Democracy


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Author Bio

Anubhav Bishen, National Law School India University

Anubhav Bishen is a Doctoral candidate, National Law School India University, Bengaluru.


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