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Claiming the State: Active Citizenship and Social Welfare in Rural India

Kruks-Wisner, Gabrielle (University of Virginia)

978 1 316 64900 8
List price(s):
39.99 USD
28.99 GBP
33.83 EUR

Publication date:
16 August 2018

Short description: 

Explores the conditions that shape whether and how citizens in rural India make claims on the state for social welfare.

Full description: 

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.

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.


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.




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