Journal Article


Waiting for the state: Gender, citizenship and everyday encounters with bureaucracy in India

Abstract

This article focuses on practices and meanings of time and waiting experienced by poor, low-class Dalits and Muslims in their routine encounters with the state in India. Drawing on ethnographic research from Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, it presents experiences of waiting around queuing and applying for paperwork, cards, and welfare schemes, in order to examine the role of temporal processes in the production of citizenship and citizen agency. An analysis of various forms of waiting – ‘on the day’, ‘to and fro’, and ‘chronic’ waiting – reveals how temporal processes operate as mechanisms of power and control through which state actors and other mediators produce differentiated forms of citizenship and citizens. Temporal processes and their material outcomes, we argue, are shaped by class, caste and religion, while also drawing on – and reproducing – gendered identities and inequalities. However, rather than being ‘passive’ patients of the state, we show how ordinary people draw on money, patronage networks and various performative acts in an attempt to secure their rights as citizens of India.

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Authors

Carswell, Grace
Chambers, Thomas
De Neve, Geerd

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\Department of Social Sciences

Dates

Year of publication: 2018
Date of RADAR deposit: 2018-04-09


Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License


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