Governance, development and the state in South Asia

Location 201 A
Date and Start Time 16 May, 2014 at 15:30


Amiya Kumar Das (Tezpur University) email
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Short Abstract

Governance has become a buzzword in the 21st century. State, international development agencies and member of civil societies all participate in the discourse of governance. This panel will critically analyse the idea of governance in South Asia keeping the issue of development and state in focus

Long Abstract

The idea of governance has generated interests of all in last few decades. Governance is defined as the process of governing. It looks like the discourse of development has been replaced by the issue of governance. After the intrusion of neoliberal agenda into the nation state, governance has become the centre of discussion in academic domain as well as in the public sphere. Intellectuals argue there has been a shift from government to governance. State is no longer the prime authority responsible for governance and development. The new governance entails market, network, development agencies, and international organisation to take responsibility and participate in the process of governance and development. Due to the advancement of network and information technology the strict boundary between different countries getting blurred. This situation demands a new form of governance in terms of large scale transnational human migration, changed legal framework, issues of security, health, education, poverty and so on. Societies are diverse and it is impossible to have any kind of universal form of governance. Contradiction and conflict arises when modern governance and traditional governance take place in the same domain. Issues of identity, ethnic and religious multiplicity poses a challenge to the process of governance in many of the South Asian countries. So this panel intends to question and analyse some of the issues surrounding the issue of governance, development and the state.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.


Politics of governing development in post colonial India: the ideas and the instruments

Authors: Joydeep Baruah (OKD Institute of Social Change and Development)  email
Bhupen Sarmah  email

Short Abstract

The proposed paper intends to critically discuss these issues in detail and underline the politics of governing development in India highlighting major shifts therein during last six decades.

Long Abstract

Idea of development pursued by the Post Colonial Indian State at different points of time has typically come into conflict with the idea of development of common people whom it intends to develop. As such, the State has been adopting diverse instruments for governing development which continuously negotiate with people. The Land Acquisition Act enacted way back in 1894 during the colonial regime, for instance, has been one of the major instruments of forcing the State's idea of development upon its people even in the post colonial period. The very usage of the Act for development purposes embodies politics of governing development in the country over the years. As newer forms of governance are gaining space in the democratic politics in the recent past, the State obviously needs to respond and reorient its politics of governing development as well. The new Land Acquisition Act of 2013, which replaces the colonial version of the Act, therefore, needs to be located in the changing milieu of governance. When that is done, the new Act throws up plethora of mechanisms by which the State envisages to govern development taking common people on board. The State's attempt at this reconciliation reveals the changing imperatives of the State in forcing its agenda with newer forms of governance. The proposed paper intends to critically discuss these issues in detail and underline the politics of governing development in India highlighting major shifts therein during last six decades.

Hung kings myths and Ideological struggle to establish Vietnamese identity

Author: Phuc Anh Nguyen (Tokyo Metropolitan University)  email

Short Abstract

The research will focus on how Vietnamese political power controls the process of manipulation and propagation of Hung King myths in creating political identity and answers how Hùng King myths have been incorporated into consolidating and obtaining state power by very different ideological entities.

Long Abstract

This research project aims to answer how Hùng King myths have been incorporated into consolidating and obtaining state power by very different ideological entities, as well as the influence of political power on redefining Vietnam identity, making of a homogeneous nation in a top-down manner. From the perspective of power consolidation, I will investigate the policies-making and ideological role of state institutions in redefining Vietnamese identity by using Hùng kings myths to interpret the origin of Vietnamese in preordained directions. And from the aspect of obtaining political power, I will discuss the important role of Hùng Kings myths in the struggle for regime change by anti-state political forces. Before 1975, Hùng king myths were frequently in the ideological conflict between communists of North Vietnam and nationalists of South Vietnam. After 1975, these myths are used in the anti-state movements of exiles and dissidents. These movements, nonetheless, do not aim to help "the Vietnamese people" becoming better as declared. The motivation behind reconstructing new connotation of "Vietnamese identity" is to take over Communist authority.

This research also provides a better understanding of the role of Hùng King myths in the process of establishing a new identity from a political perspective and the relation between this process and ideological movements of seeking or exercising state power. Through surveying the case study of Vietnam, our research will contribute to the current scholarly approach to political nationalism and its position in creating a homogeneous nation by using ideological tools.

Sociology of governance: an exploration of elections in India

Author: Amiya Kumar Das (Tezpur University)  email

Short Abstract

This paper tries to explore approaches and frameworks which are relevant to the study of governance and elections in relation to the state and society.

Long Abstract

The object of knowledge, in the way it is constructed and approached is dependent on one's training in the particular discipline. As we understand sociology and anthropology have some peculiarities. To classify what is anthropology and sociology, one has to find how certain phenomenon works. Whereas sociology in India especially tries to understand why and how social processes occurs with the help of fieldwork.

This paper is a product of an ethnographic study of three elections in Sonitpur District of Assam, India. Apart from analysing voting pattern and voting behaviour, it explains electoral participation as a form of enacting citizenship. It examines the political significance of electoral voting for immigrant communities. This paper analyses the whole process of elections and tries to bring out certain events which are similar to magic and performance. This paper tries to explore approaches and frameworks which are relevant to the study of governance and elections in relation to the state and society. It explores the possibility of studying governance through the lens of Sociology.

Anthropology of future global politics of climate change

Author: Sidhananda Pradhan (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)  email

Short Abstract

The anthropology of future global politics of climate change germinates avenue for close cooperation to defeat common threat. It create opportunities in various sectors but some countries would create new markets for Greenovative technologies and green politics and Climatizen would address the problem.

Long Abstract

The climate change is unequivocal truth in the contemporary global politics of the 21st century. The climate change is directly or indirectly attributed to anthropogenic activities and consequence of human interference with ecosystem. The politics of climate change is significant because, it is the common problem of the world and needs collective actions of nations to solve the menace. The global Politics of climate change has surfaced right from the issue of equitable distribution of limited resources and opportunities, sharing the responsibilities and burden of global pollution or emission among the nations. In one side of the globe, the industrial developed countries are mindlessly exploiting nature to fulfill their greed, and polluting environment for centuries; on other side of earth, the people are dying like insects without getting their basic needs. Kyoto Protocol supposed to be expired in 2012 and but it was extended till 2020 by the Doha Summit. This paper intended to analyze and debate on following major questions:what would be the future anthropology of Post-Kyoto nature of global politics on climate change? Why the developed countries led by the US has created huge new market in the third world countries in the name of carbon mitigation or sequestration, clean technology transfer, Greenovative technology? What would be perspective of the climate change mechanism or international agreements in the ever changing world politics? What is role of morality, ethics, human virtues in the anthropology of future discourse of climate change?

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MGNREGS towards poverty reduction and good governance: a case study from Assam, India

Author: Soumen Ray (UNICEF)  email

Short Abstract

The paper aims to look at the effect of MNREGA among the poor and vulnerable groups in the north-eastern state of Assam. This paper will also deal with the gendered aspect of the employment scheme.

Long Abstract

In the context of poverty reduction, Indian states have been trying out various social protection schemes since last few decades. It has been a great challenge to the governance as the states are trying to empower the poor and vulnerable groups and community. In India, one of the most important welfare programmes is Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) which came into effect from February 2006. It is an important step towards the realization of the rural citizen's right to work and to enhance their livelihoods. It aims to eradicate extreme poverty by giving minimum of 100 days of wage employment per household in a year.

This paper sets out to describe the achievement vis-à-vis the objective of MGNREGS in the state of Assam during the last three years. Data used in this article has been sourced from the Government of Assam. In addition to that, field visits were undertaken in five districts to triangulate the data. This study observes that employment under MGNREGA has declined consistently from 1.79 million man-days in 2010-11 to 1.21 million in 2012-13. Accordingly the expenditure pattern has decreased substantially during the last three years. This reflects that the dependency on MGNREGA is constantly decreasing. Though MGNREGA has the potential to improve services for women, no substantial result is visible, as the participation of women in MGNREGA work has been stagnant for last three years.

Market and state in traditional and modern governance systems: a case study of Joonbeel Mela of Assam

Author: Dola Borkataki (Tezpur Central University)  email

Short Abstract

The paper highlights the role of market and its relation to state in traditional and modern governance systems. It would also strive to understand market as a mechanism to establish inter-relations not only among people but also between the state and the people.

Long Abstract

The paper is an ethnography of the exchange relation between the people of the hills and the plains looking at the role that market played in the traditional governance system and the way it facilitates interaction not only between people belonging to different geographical terrains but also holding different positions in the traditional power structure. Joonbeel Mela, a harvesting festival of the Tiwa tribe of Middle Assam, was initiated under the patronage of the Ahom and the Gobha kingdom purely on political and economic grounds and as a mechanism to establish friendly relations between different kings as well as between the rulers and the ruled is held once a year and is renowned for the traditional barter exchange between Tiwas residing both in the hills and the plains. Being the most beloved festival of the tribe and celebrated with great vigor and enthusiasm, the significance of the Mela also lies in continuing with the historical legacy of paying tribute and offering loyalty to their king; their traditional authority. The paper is an attempt to perceive not only the role that fairs, marts, local markets, and exchange systems played in the traditional governance system but also to understand how traditional exchange system continues be still very relevant among the natives and the influence it has on their lives and their relationships even in the neo liberal era where globalization and global markets have become so indispensable.

Keywords: State, Exchange, Market, Hill-Plain Interaction, Traditional governance.

Agrarian social structure and the State

Author: sarmistha das (Tezpur University)  email

Short Abstract

The study aims to look at the changing agrarian social structures and the confrontations between people and the State sponsored strategies of development. Through this paper the author will try to unveil the shifts in agrarian social structure and the changes within the same.

Long Abstract

Generally agrarian structure refers to the arrangements under which the relations of production revolve. These relations to a very large extent revolve around the networks of kinship and family. Assam too follows a similar pattern of agrarian social structure.

The present study however aims to look at the agrarian social structure and the changes which have emerged within it. In most of the villages across the state there is a shift in this structure. It is also seen that an inclination towards non agricultural activities have increased over the period of time. This shift is a result of withering common property resources which were available earlier and used by the communities. This results in a constant trend of seasonal out migration to industrial centers of other places of India. This process of out migration today questions the contours of State initiated developmental programs.

This paper aims to look at the changing agrarian social structure in a village of Assam located in the northeastern part of India. This paper attempts to understand the changing pattern of agrarian structure with the advent of market economy and would try to bring out the points of confrontation between people and the State sponsored strategies of development.

Key word: Agrarian Social Structure, Development, Common property resources.

Political economy of resource entitlement and making of hunger in a resource rich region in India

Author: Bhubaneswar Sabar (Centre for Multidisciplinary Development Research)  email

Short Abstract

This paper illustrates how the political economy of resources distribution and entitlement in Kalahandi district of Orissa, India has widen the vulnerability of local people despite affluent of resources. It urges for the proper governance of existing resources to avoid such vulnerability.

Long Abstract

Resources play crucial roles in shaping livelihood among the people. But the access and utilisation of the resources many times are governed by some set of both state and non-state institutions. Thereby the access to and utilisation of the resources-human, capital, natural and community- as used in contemporary development paradigm, get hamper and affect people's livelihood. Under this polemic, this paper illustrates how politics on resource entitlement have historically shaped the vulnerable condition of people in Nuapada (erstwhile Kalahandi) district Orissa, India, albeit, the district has affluent of resources. Influenced by political economy doctrine, it captures the process of resource distribution and functioning different resource-based livelihood schemes thereby drawing a glimpse on resource entitlement of local people and consequent pang of vulnerability. It finds that the deliberate exploitation of colonial administrators to the local people, however, paved a way to immigrant to exploit the local resources, the collapse of the state command economy in the post-1990s, following the adaptation of new economic reform and the subsequent withdrawal of welfare state from welfare activities has caused serious disruption in the development of the district as evident from declining livelihood options and increasing distress migration. Now, the opening of space for elite groups and middlemen thereafter have allowed them to exploit both resources and local people thereby abstaining stakeholders from accessing resources and has pushed them into penury and widened the vulnerability conditions of local people as well. Thus there is a need to bring reform in resource distribution at state level.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.