Locked in Place: State-Building and Late Industrialization in India

Vivek Chibber



xx+ 336 pages

9.5x 6.25 inches

ISBN: 81-85229-86-4

Rs 630

For sale in India and South Asia only

Shortlisted for ‘The New India Book Prize’

Why were some countries able to build ‘developmental states’ in the decades after World War II while others were not? Through a richly detailed examination of India’s experience, Locked in Place argues that the critical factor was the reaction of domestic capitalists to the state-building project. During the 1950s and 60s, India launched an extremely ambitious and highly regarded program of state-led development. But it soon became clear that the Indian state lacked the institutional capacity to carry out rapid industrialization. Drawing on newly available archival sources, Vivek Chibber mounts a challenge to conventional arguments by showing that the insufficient state capacity stemmed mainly from Indian industrialists’ massive campaign, in the years after Independence, against a strong developmental state.

Chibber contrasts India’s experience with the success of a similar program of state-building in South Korea, where political elites managed to harness domestic capitalists to their agenda. He then develops a theory of the structural conditions that can account for the different reactions of Indian and Korean capitalists as rational responses to the distinct development models adopted in each country. His book is also the first historical study of India’s post-colonial industrial strategy. Emphasizing the central role of capital in the state-building process, and restoring class analysis to the core of the political economy of development, Locked in Place is an innovative work of theoretical power.


Vivek Chibber is Assistant Professor of Sociology at New York University.

“… an important contribution to the larger theoretical debate about the role of the state in development and the place of class analysis.”

European Journal of Sociology

“. . . a powerful assault on the intellectual assumptions . . . on which prevailing neoliberal consensus in India rests.”
New Left Review