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In Session: Quotidian Structures of Colonial and Postcolonial Governance
2: Shifting Terms: Negotiating State Service Provision in Rural India
Friday, March 26, 2021
8:30am – 10:00am EDT
Homerton College, Cambridge, United States
This paper explores how the Indian state is fashioned alternately as provider and facilitator through a study of state service provision in rural North India. I focus on development schemes, subsidies, and social programs implemented through a gram panchayat (village council)to consider how the terms of state-society relations are variously informed by welfarist principles of distribution and ideals of self-sufficiency. Linking the quotidian presentation of state services to broader historical shifts in development discourse, I trace the production of multiple ‘social contracts’ with the post-liberalization Indian state. As such, this paper highlights the shifting expectations and moral compacts that inform the pursuit of services through the state bureaucracy.