University of Louisville and Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, United States
Session Abstract: This panel seeks to examine the quotidian practices of governance in colonial and postcolonial South Asia, particularly through bureaucratic encounters. Using archival and ethnographic evidence, papers will explore perceptions of governance, contestations and conflicts, and episodes of negotiations and cooperation between local governments and citizens (transport operators, food vendors, etc). These encounters will shed light on people’s engagement with colonial and postcolonial bureaucracy as well as discordances within different state institutions in the routine practice of governance.
Together, the papers seek to ground “the state” and theorize governance through everyday negotiations with bureaucratic procedure, regulation, and policy implementation. Questions that animate this panel include: How do citizens and bureaucrats reconcile imagined and experienced dimensions of village government? How do transport operators in Delhi make use of court cases and informal negotiations in their engagements with the state? How did everyday encounters between public health officials and the urban poor of Calcutta reflect contemporaneous middle-class anxieties around hygiene, adulteration and impurities?
Paper Presenter: Gourav Krishna Nandi – Yale University
Paper Presenter: Meredith Mclaughlin – Homerton College, Cambridge
Paper Presenter: Souvanik Mullick – Yale University