Organized Panel Session
This panel seeks to examine the quotidian history of policy-making and the culture of rule-framing in colonial and postcolonial South Asia. In particular, we will explore the practices of local governance through bureaucratic encounters. Using archival and ethnographic evidence, papers will explore contestations and conflicts, episodes of negotiations and cooperation between local governments and actors (transport operators, refugees, etc). These encounters will shed light on people’s engagement with colonial and postcolonial bureaucracy; discordances in rule-framing between different government departments; and the ways in which liberal governance actually materialized.
Together, these papers seek to ground “the state” and theorize everyday negotiations within and with the state. Questions that animate this panel include: In what ways did everyday practices of colonial municipal governance reflect a critique of the larger colonial state? How do people employ brokers in their encounters with local bureaucracy? How do transport operators in Delhi make use of court cases and informal negotiations in their engagements with the state? How did bureaucrats in post-partition India draw on medical research to legitimize particular geographies suitable for the resettlement of refugees?