Poor people confront the state on an everyday basis all over the world. But how do they see the state, and how are these engagements conducted? This book considers the Indian case where people's accounts, in particular in the countryside, are shaped by a series of encounters that are staged at the local level, and which are also informed by ideas that are circulated by the government and the broader development community. Drawing extensively on fieldwork conducted in eastern India and their broad range of expertise, the authors review a series of key debates in development studies on participation, good governance, and the structuring of political society. They do so with particular reference to the Employment Assurance Scheme and primary education provision. Seeing the State engages with the work of James Scott, James Ferguson and Partha Chatterjee, and offers a new interpretation of the formation of citizenship in South Asia.
How do poor people in India understand and make use of the state in their daily lives? The authors consider key debates in development studies on participation and good governance to answer these questions. They study the extent to which poorer people can engage the political process as citizens.
Part I. The State and the Poor: 1. Seeing the state; 2. Technologies of rule and the war on poverty; Part II. The Everyday State and Society: 3. Meeting the state; 4. Participation; 5. Governance; 6. Political society; Part III. The Poor and the State: 7. Protesting the state; 8. Postcolonialism, development studies and spaces of empowerment; 9. Postscript: development ethics and the ethics of critique.
The book focuses on the relationship between the poor and the state in India.
Cambridge University Press
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