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Claiming the State
Active Citizenship and Social Welfare in Rural India

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  • Date Published: October 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107199750

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About the Authors
  • Citizens around the world look to the state for social welfare provision, but often struggle to access essential services in health, education, and social security. This book investigates the everyday practices through which citizens of the world's largest democracy make claims on the state, asking whether, how, and why they engage public officials in the pursuit of social welfare. Drawing on extensive fieldwork in rural India, Kruks-Wisner demonstrates that claim-making is possible in settings (poor and remote) and among people (the lower classes and castes) where much democratic theory would be unlikely to predict it. Examining the conditions that foster and inhibit citizen action, she finds that greater social and spatial exposure - made possible when individuals traverse boundaries of caste, neighborhood, or village - builds citizens' political knowledge, expectations, and linkages to the state, and is associated with higher levels and broader repertoires of claim-making.

    • Develops a theory of active citizenship, that draws together distinct strands of literature that explore how states influence citizens' political activity and the social determinants of political participation, to highlight the ways claim-making is simultaneously state-induced and socially produced
    • Provides readers with a bottom-up view of citizen-state relations in rural India, documenting the increasing porousness - but also persistence - of traditional boundaries of caste, community, and village
    • Offers a framework for thinking about the kinds of policy and social interventions that enable greater citizen-state engagement
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    Awards

    • Winner (for Manuscript), 2018 Joseph W. Elder Prize, American Institute of Indian Studies

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Studies in political science are often written as if citizens interact with the state only during elections. Yet, as Gabrielle Kruks-Wisner shows in her remarkable book, many of the most important interactions that people in rural Rajasthan have with state actors - about access to water, electricity, healthcare, food, shelter, and other forms of social protection - are almost daily activities. This makes it crucial to understand the conditions under which citizens do (or don't) make claims for these services. Claiming the State provides compelling answers, and in so doing, provides new and important insights into how citizens in poor countries interact with their governments.' Daniel N. Posner, James Coleman Professor of International Development, University of California, Los Angeles

    'Kruks-Wisner rightly notes scholars of political participation have remained preoccupied with exceptional or episodic moments: mass mobilizations, armed struggles, voting, and campaign rallies. In doing so, they have neglected the quotidian forms of participation that define the political lives of most citizens across the global south. Her book rightly shifts attention to everyday claim-making, and asks important questions: who makes claims, when, and how? Using meticulously collected data from north India she finds surprising answers: claim-making is not the exclusive purview of men, urbanites, the wealthy, or the socially privileged. It can occur in even the most unlikely pockets, especially when citizens develop social and economic networks extending beyond their locality or social group. Claiming the State should have a sizeable impact in reorienting studies of political participation towards life between elections, and in how we think of the practice of citizenship in contemporary India.' Tariq Thachil, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107199750
    • length: 336 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.6kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Introduction and Theory:
    1. Introduction: citizenship and social welfare
    2. A theory of active citizenship
    Part II. Citizenship Practice In Rajasthan:
    3. The institutional terrain of the state
    4. Seeking the state: claim-making patterns and puzzles
    5. Encountering the state: citizens' social and spatial exposure
    6. Claiming the state: exposure as a catalyst for citizen action
    Part III. Consequences and Extensions:
    7. The consequences of claim-making
    8. Conclusion: active citizenship in Rajasthan and beyond
    Appendices
    References
    Index.

  • Author

    Gabrielle Kruks-Wisner, University of Virginia
    Gabrielle Kruks-Wisner is Assistant Professor of Politics and Global Studies at the University of Virginia. She was previously an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, and an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Boston College. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and a Masters in International Development and Regional Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology from Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania. Her research examines citizen-state relations, local governance, and social welfare provision, and has appeared in World Politics and World Development. Claiming the State is her first book.

    Awards

    • Winner (for Manuscript), 2018 Joseph W. Elder Prize, American Institute of Indian Studies

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