Black Disciples gang Levitt and Venkatesh analyzed and moreover was organized not on a franchise basis but as a decentralized commodity chain, with different tiers of the pyramid linked not by payments of dues or salaries but rather through upstream
Contrasting views from Chicago and Managua
Reconfigurations of public and private
Rosie Read and Tatjana Thelen
State frameworks for welfare and social security have been subject to processes of privatization, decentralization, and neoliberal reform in many parts of the world. This article explores how these developments might be theorized using anthropological understandings of social security in combination with feminist perspectives on care. In its application to post-1989 socioeconomic transformation in the former socialist region, this perspective overcomes the conceptual inadequacies of the "state withdrawal" model. It also illuminates the nuanced ways in which public and private (as spaces, subjectivities, institutions, moralities, and practices) re-emerge and change in the socialist era as well as today, continually shaping the trajectories and outcomes of reforms to care and social security.
Seth Schindler, Simin Fadaee and Dan Brockington
There is renewed interest in megaprojects worldwide. In contrast to high-modernist megaprojects that were discrete projects undertaken by centralized authorities, contemporary megaprojects are often decentralized and pursued by a range of stakeholders from governments as well as the private sector. They leverage cutting-edge technology to ‘see’ complex systems as legible and singular phenomena. As a result, they are more ambitious, more pervasive and they have the potential to reconfigure longstanding relationships that have animated social and ecological systems. The articles in this issue explore the novel features of contemporary megaprojects, they show how the proponents of contemporary megaprojects aspire to technologically enabled omnipresence, and they document the resistance that megaprojects have provoked.
Remaking the Public Good
Laura Bear and Nayanika Mathur
In this introductory article, we call for a new anthropology of bureaucracy focused on 'the public good'. We aim to recapture this concept from its classic setting within the discipline of economics. We argue that such a move is particularly important now because new public goods – of transparency, fiscal discipline and decentralization – are being pressed into the service of states and transnational organizations: it has therefore become critical to focus on their techniques, effects and affects through fine-grained ethnography that challenges the economization of the political. We demonstrate our approach through some ethnographic findings from different parts of India. These show how fiscal austerity leads to new limited social contracts and precarious intimacies with the post-liberalization Indian state. This relationship between new public goods and forms of precarious citizenship is then further illuminated by the six articles that follow in this special issue.
Massimo Bordignon and Gilberto Turati
In respect of fiscal decentralization, the year 2007, and more generally
the Parliament, saw some progress, above all in relation to the regulation
of intergovernmental pacts, legislative proposals, and the institutional
relationship between different levels of government. There
were also some failures, particularly with regard to the continual intervention
by the central government in the matter of local taxes. The
year also saw the emergence of substantial problems in relation to
local debt. These had been on the increase in recent years, partly as
a consequence of the introduction of new financial instruments and
partly because of explosive growth in some areas of local expenditure,
notably in the health sector. The central government tackled some
of these problems effectively—for example, those in areas affected
by the new norms on infrastructure and the Health Pact—while its
approach toward others was ineffectual. In general, the difficulties and
internal contradictions of the parliamentary majority constrained its
legislative capacity, opening up the possibility that its more innovative
proposals—in particular, those relating to the constitutional reform of
2001—would not be implemented.
Appropriate thresholds and scales of change
This is a new year’s letter written by the founder of the Centre for Ecological Learning Luxembourg (CELL) to the executive board on the occasion of a journey to India. CELL is an independent, volunteer-led grassroots nonprofit organization founded in 2010 and based in Beckerich. CELL’s scope of action is the Greater Region of Luxembourg, hence its mode of operating through decentralized action groups in order to establish and maintain community gardens, food co-ops, and other social-ecological projects in different parts of Luxembourg. CELL also develops and organizes various courses, provides consultancy services for ecological living, participates in relevant civil society campaigns, and does some practical research on low-impact living. The broad objective of CELL is to provide an experimental space for thinking, researching, disseminating, and practicing lifestyles with a low impact on the environment, and learning the skills for creating resilient post-carbon communities. CELL is inspired by the work of the permaculture and Transition Towns social movements in its aims to relocalize culture and economy and, in that creative process, improve resilience to the consequences of peak oil and climate change.
Nonrecording as a civil boundary
decentralization—has led, among other things, to several disparities in the bureaucratic functioning of recording citizens and recognizing their rights. First, in order to prove its up-to-date recording technology to scan the population, the state disregards its
Ethnographic Engagement with Bureaucratic Violence
Erin R. Eldridge and Amanda J. Reinke
austerity, transparency, and decentralization can change bureaucratic organizations, shape social struggles, and produce unexpected outcomes. For example, Mathur’s study of the overhaul of India’s welfare system based on “good governance” strategies, namely
The Digital Age Opens Up New Terrains for Peace and Conflict Research
Josepha Ivanka Wessels
in our lives also led to decentralization of information and to a digital divide between rich and poor. Much of the work within the field of peace and conflict studies has, until now, focused on the role of cyberspace in warfare, terrorism, and
Transparency, risk, and good governance in Indonesia
her oversight. In this remarkable discussion it wasn’t entirely clear whether we were seeing evidence of longstanding practices of local corruption or the effect of the decentralization of authority that had occurred. Under Suharto, local leaders had