Recent Issue – Vol 84, No 1, March 2011

 **Special Issue**

Experiencing the State: Marginalized People and the Politics of Development in Contemporary India


Marginality, Agency and Power: Experiencing the State in Contemporary India

By Philippa Williams*, Bhaskar Vira* and Deepta Chopra, *University of Cambridge, UK, Institute of Development Studies, UK

Keywords: The state, development, politics, India, marginality

The idea of the state has shown remarkable resilience over the last couple of decades, despite assaults on it from neoliberal doctrines and the forces of globalization. During this period, the abiding presence and role of the state has been particularly evident in the contemporary political life of the Asia Pacific region. This article pays special attention to the contemporary Indian state in the context of development. It reflects upon the ways in which the state is experienced, by focusing on questions of marginality, agency and power as they intersect the politics of development. By reading the empirical insights documented within this special issue against a rich trajectory of scholarship on the Indian state, the article argues that there has been a recent qualitative change in the way in which the contemporary Congress-led UPA government has presented itself to the common person. The implementation of pro-poor and more inclusive policies has altered the discursive landscape within which state-society interactions have taken place over the last five years. Importantly, these policies have functioned to reconfigure not only the material interactions between the state and India’s marginalized, but also the imagined spaces within which marginal groups renegotiate their relationships with the state.

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Spaces of Opportunity: State-Oustee Relations in the Context of Conservation-Induced Displacement in Central India

By Kim Beazley, University of Cambridge, UK

Keywords: Displacement; relocation; conservation; India; power; everyday state

This article draws from detailed fieldwork on the recent conservationinduced displacement of a Maharashtrian village in central India to contest the simplicity of conventional treatments of such displacement as a straightforward enactment of state power. Reflecting certain broader theories of power, agency and the state, the case of Botezari village presents a more nuanced reality in which state-society relations were transformed and retransformed. In the village’s pre-relocation phase, a set of conducive factors came together to create a small opening which enabled a fundamental reworking of familiar state-oustee power relationships. This opening was ultimately short-lived, with spaces of oustee opportunity to direct change largely closed off in the post-relocation context. However, the villagers’ memories of their pre-relocation liberating moment, and the strategic capacity, confidence and expectations honed in that moment, persisted to an extent that challenges the permanency and inevitability of displacementinduced marginalization in the conservation setting.

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Spaces for Negotiation and Mass Action within the National Rural Health Mission: ‘Community Monitoring Plus’ and People’s Organizations in Tribal Areas of Maharashtra, India

By Brendan Donegan, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, UK

Keywords: Health, anthropology, community, civil society, state, politics

The first phase of the Community-Based Monitoring of Health Services program of the National Rural Health Mission has seen involvement of civil society actors at every stage, from the formation of policy in Delhi to program implementation in villages across the country. For many of the civil society actors involved, the program presents a unique opportunity to advance their rights-based agendas from within the government system by making creative and innovative use of the spaces that the program opens. In the implementation of the program by people’s organizations in tribal areas of Maharashtra, “innovations” have been introduced that go beyond the scope of the guidelines set in Delhi; these have been dubbed “community monitoring plus.”

Drawing upon actor-network theory and recent work in the anthropology of development, this paper explores the dynamics, achievements and tensions of “community monitoring plus” through a narrative that travels the length of the policy process. The analysis describes how categories such as “state,” “civil society” and “community” are constructed within spaces of policy and practice, and examines the crucial enabling role that such constructions play in the policy process. The necessity of such constructions leads to a disconnect between policy making and implementation, so that policy makers remain ignorant of the realities of implementation practice and subordinate actors can carve out spaces for carrying out their own agendas around and against the policy framework. The implications of the analysis extend beyond the case study, as the dynamics described are also features of policy processes elsewhere.

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Questioning Borders: Social Movements, Political Parties and the Creation of New States in India

By Louise Tillin, University of Cambridge, UK

Keywords: India; statehood; movements; political parties; federalism

As the world’s largest multi-ethnic democracy, India has a federal constitution that is well-equipped with administrative devices that offer apparent recognition and measures of self-governance to territorially concentrated ethnic groups. This article analyzes how demands for political autonomy—or statehood—within the federal system have been used as a frame for social movement mobilization. It focuses on the most recent states to have been created in India: Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand, which came into being in 2000. These are the first states to have been created in India on a non-linguistic basis. Their creation has triggered questions about whether the creation of more, smaller states can improve political representation and help to make the state more responsive to diverse needs in India. This article draws attention to the processes which have brought borders into question, drawing social movements and political parties into alignment about the idea of creating new states. It ultimately looks at why the creation of states as a result of such processes may not lead to more substantive forms of political and economic citizenship on the part of marginalized communities. While the focus of the analysis will be on the processes that led up to statehood, the conclusions offer some insights into why pro-poor policy shifts at the national level in India have uneven regional effects. Despite the change in national political regime in India with the election of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance in 2004, marginalized groups in India continue to experience the state through the refractive lens of multiple regional political histories.

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Policy Making in India: A Dynamic Process of Statecraft

By Deepta Chopra, Institute of Development Studies, UK

Keywords: State, Policy making, Statecraft, India, Politics

This paper problematizes the concept of the state by studying its role and interactions with society in the realm of making policy. To achieve this, the case of a recently formulated social policy in India, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), is examined. The paper provides empirical evidence of policy making as a complex and iterative process, which is mediated by a multiplicity of actors who operate in relation to each other. In tracing the formulation process of the NREGA, theoretical claims regarding the understanding of the state as an ideological construct as well as comprising of material practices are substantiated. The paper sees policy making as an act of governing, and contributes to ethnographic understandings of fuzzy and porous boundaries between the state and society that are redefined through the act of policy making. This dynamism, it is argued, results in the two-dimensional phenomenon of statecraft: how the state pursues policy making as a strategy for governing its population, and in turn, how the state itself gets reconstituted in the making of policy.

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Books Reviewed In This Issue

Asia General

From Asian To Global Financial Crisis: An Asian Regulator’s View of Unfettered Finance in the 1990s and 2000s. By Andrew Sheng. Reviewed by Cyn-Young Park

Economic Meltdown and Geopolitical Stability. Edited by Ashley J. Tellis, Andrew Marble and Travis Tanner. Reviewed by Pascale Massot

American Sanctions in the Asia-Pacific. By Brendan Taylor. Reviewed by Ted Galen Carpenter

Geopolitics and Maritime Territorial Disputes in East Asia. By Ralf Emmers. Reviewed by Cheng Guan Ang

Words in Motion: Toward a Global Lexicon. Edited by Carol Gluck and Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing. Reviewed by Arif Dirlik China and India: Prospects for Peace.
By Jonathan Holslag. Reviewed by David A. Rosenberg

The Rise of China and India: A New Asian Drama. Edited by Lam Peng Er and Lim Tai Wei. Reviewed by Hong Zhao

Political Booms: Local Money and Power in Taiwan, East China, Thailand, and the Philippines. By Lynn T. White. Reviewed by Netina Tan

Politics and Change in Singapore and Hong Kong: Containing Contention. By Stephan Ortmann. Reviewed by M. Ramesh

Gendered Traject ories: Women, Work, and Social Change in Japan and Taiwan. By Wei-hsin Yu. Reviewed by Glenda S. Roberts

Photographies East: The Camera and Its Histories in East and Southeast Asia. Edited by Rosalind C. Morris. Reviewed by Hyung-Gu Lynn

Decentralization Policies in Asian Development. Editors: Shinichi Ichimura, Roy Bahl. Reviewed by Hal Hill

New Dimensions of Economic Globalization: Surge of Outward Foreign Direct Investment from Asia. Editors: Ramkishen S. Rajan, Rajiv Kumar, Nicola Virgill. Reviewed by Peter J. Buckley

China and Inner Asia

The Mind of Empire: China’s History and Modern Foreign Relations. By Christopher A. Ford. Reviewed by John E. Wills, Jr.

Negotiating Asymmetry: China’s Place in Asia. Edited by Anthony Reid, Zheng Yangwen. Reviewed by Xiaorong Han

Management Training and Development in China: Educating Managers in a Globalized Economy. Edited by Malcolm Warner and Keith Goodall. Reviewed by Ilan Alon

Chen Village: Revolution to Globalization. By Anita Chan, Richard Madsen and Jonathan Unger. Reviewed by Graham Johnson

Oil in China: From Self-Reliance to Internationalization. Series on Contemporary China, V. 18. By Lim Tai Wei. Reviewed by Jianhai Bi

Oil and Gas in China: The New Energy Superpower’s Relations With its Region. By Lim Tai Wei. Reviewed by Jianhai Bi

State’s Gains, Labor’s Losses: China, France, and Mexico Choose Global Liaisons, 1980-2000. By Dorothy J. Solinger. Reviewed by David Zweig

Communist Multiculturalism: Ethnic Revival in Southwest China. By Susan K. McCarthy. Reviewed by Janet Sturgeon

Collect ive Resistance in China: Why Popular Protests Succeed or Fail. By Yongshun Cai. Reviewed by Neil Diamant

Tiananmen Moon: Inside the Chinese Student Uprising of 1989. By Philip J. Cunningham. Reviewed by Bob Nixon

A Foreign Missionary on the Long March: The Memoirs of Arnolis Hayman of the China Inland Mission. By Arnolis Hayman; edited with an Introduction by Anne-Marie Brady. Reviewed by John S. Conway

La Révolution Fourvoyée: Parcours dans la Chine du XXe Siècle. By Lucien Bianco. Reviewed by Rene Goldman

Voices in Revolution: Poetry and the Auditory Imagination in Modern China. By John A. Crespi. Reviewed by Lucas Klein

Once Iron Girls: Essays on Gender by Post-Mao Chinese Literary Women. Edited by Hui Wu. Reviewed by Norman Smith

Women Journalists and Feminism in China, 1898-1937. By Yuxin Ma. Reviewed by Stephen R. MacKinnon

Cinema, Space, and Polylocality in a Globalizing China. By Yingjin Zhang. Reviewed by Jason McGrath

The Birth of a Republic: Francis Stafford’s Photographs of China’s 1911 Revolution and Beyond. Edited by Hanchao Lu. Reviewed by Wenhsin Yeh

Red Lights: The Lives of Sex Workers in Postsocialist China. By Tiantian Zheng. Reviewed by Sophia Woodman

Developing China: Land, Politics and Social Conditions. By George C.S. Lin. Reviewed by Wei Xu


Northeast Asia

Conflict and Change: Foreign Ownership and the Japanese Firm. By George Olcott. Reviewed by Hendrik Meyer-Ohle

Changes in Japanese Employment Practices: Beyond the Japanese Model. By Arjan B. Keizer. Reviewed by Ellen Fuller

Challenges to Japanese Education: Economics, Reform, and Human Rights. Edited by June A. Gordon, Hidenori Fujita, Takehiko Kariya and Gerald LeTendre. Reviewed by Ryota Nishino

The Transformation of the Japanese Left: From Old Socialists to New Democrats. By Sarah Hyde. Reviewed by Aurelia George Mulganr

Japan’s Remilitarisation. By Christopher W. Hughes. Reviewed by You Ji

The Ideology of Kokugo: Nationalizing Language in Modern Japan. By Lee Yeounsuk; translated by Maki Hirano Hubbard. Reviewed by Wesley Jacobsen

Making Japanese Heritage. Edited by Christoph Brumann and Rupert Cox. Reviewed by Etsuko Kato

Women’s Rights?: The Politics of Eugenic Abortion in Modern Japan. By Masae Kato. Reviewed by Sabine Frühstück

The Comfort Women: Sexual Violence and Postcolonial Memory in Korea and Japan. By C. Sarah Soh. Reviewed by Seungsook Moon

Perversion and Modern Japan: Psychoanalysis, Literature, Culture. Edited by Nina Cornyetz and J. Keith Vincent. Reviewed by Nicola Liscutin

South Koreans in the Debt Crisis: The Creation of a Neoliberal Welfare Society. By Jesook Song. Reviewed by William Hayes

Born Again: Evangelicalism in Korea. By Timothy S. Lee. Reviewed by Motokazu Matsutani

Questioning Minds: Short Stories by Modern Korean Women Writers. Translated with an introduction by Yung-Hee Kim. Reviewed by Ann Y. Choi

North Korea Caught in Time: Images of War and Reconstruction. By Chris Springer; with an essay by Balazs Szalontai. Reviewed by Hee-Jeong Sohn

The Hidden People of North Korea: Everyday Life in the Hermit Kingdom. By Ralph Hassig and Kongdan Oh. Reviewed by Andrei Lankov

The Art of the Gut: Manhood, Power, and Ethics in Japanese Politics. By Robin M. LeBlanc. Reviewed by Scott North

The Rise of the Japanese NGOs: Activism from Above. Routledge Contemporary Series, 28. By Kim D. Reimann. Reviewed by Keiko Hirata


South Asia

Inclusion and Exclusion in Local Governance: Field Studies from Rural India. Edited by B.S. Baviskar and George Mathew. Reviewed by Subrata K. Mitra

Indian Youth in a Transforming World: Attitudes and Perceptions. Edited by Peter Ronald deSouza, Sanjay Kumar, Sandeep Shastri. Reviewed by Craig Jeffreyr

Crooked Stalks: Cultivating Virtue in South India. By Anand Pandian. Reviewed by Annu Jalais

India and the United States in the 21st Century: Reinventing Partnership. By Teresita C. Schaffer. Reviewed by William L. Richter

The Maoist Insurgency in Nepal: Revolution in the Twenty-first Century. Edited by Mahendra Lawoti and Anup K. Pahari. Reviewed by Mallika Shakya

Global Power: India’s Foreign Policy, 1947-2006. By B.M. Jain. Reviewed by Vernon M. Hewitt

The Partition of India. By Ian Talbot and Gurharpal Singh. Reviewed by Farzana Shaikh


Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia and the Vietnam War. By Ang Cheng Guan. Reviewed by Yuen Foong Khong

Rand in Southeast Asia: A History of the Vietnam War. By Mai V. Elliott. Reviewed by Michael E. Latham

Things Fall Away: Philippine Historical Experience and the Makings of Globalization. By Neferti X.M. Tadiar. Reviewed by Francis A. Gealogo

Multiethnic Malaysia: Past, Present and Future. Edited by Lim Teck Gee, Alberto Gomes, Azly Rahman. Reviewed by Clarissa Lee

Economic Crises and the Breakdown of Authoritarian Regimes: Indonesia and Malaysia in Comparative Perspective. By Thomas B. Pepinsky. Reviewed by Richard Robison

Workers and Intellectuals: NGOs, Trade Unions and the Indonesian Labour Movement. By Michele Ford. Reviewed by Olle Törnquist

Reconciling Indonesia: Grassroots agency for peace. Edited by Birgit Bräuchler. Reviewed by Thushara Dibley

Anwar on Trial: In the Face of Injustice. By Pawancheek Marican. Reviewed by Johan Saravanamuttu

“If You Leave Us Here, We Will Die”: How Genocide Was Stopped in East Timor. By Geoffrey Robinson. Reviewed by Joseph Nevins


Australasia and the Pacific Region

The Warm Winds of Change: Globalisation in Contemporary Sämoa. By Cluny Macpherson and La’avasa Macpherson. Reviewed by Ilana Gershon

Aphrodite’s Island: The European Discovery of Tahiti. By Anne Salmond. Reviewed by Kareva Mateata-Allain

Suffering and Sentiment: Exploring the Vicissitudes of Experience and Pain in Yap. By C. Jason Throop. Reviewed by Glenn Petersen

A Papuan Plutocracy: Ranked Exchange on Rossel Island. By John Liep. Reviewed by John Barker

Society of Others: Kinship and Mourning in a West Papuan Place. By Rupert Stasch. Reviewed by Naomi McPherson

The 2006 Military Takeover in Fiji: A Coup to End All Coups?. Edited by Jon Fraenkel, Stewart Firth and Brij V. Lal. Reviewed by Dominik Schieder

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