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The sanctioning state

Official permissiveness and prohibition in India

Ajay Gandhi

This article examines the Indian state’s engagement with deportable foreign migrants. It draws on an ethnography of officials’ responses in Mumbai to noncitizens from Bangladesh and countries in Africa. The conceptual focus is on the “sanctioning state”: official powers that alternately permit or prohibit migrants’ presence. At one level, the Indian state sanctions, or prohibits, unauthorized migration. Simultaneously, via authorities’ discretionary power, the state can sanction, or permit, foreigners’ presence. To address why state actors simultaneously sanction migrants’ enduring presence, and also sanction their intermittent removal, this article delves into the Indian state’s historical evolution and everyday functioning. The domains of bureaucratic practice, discretionary authority, and differentiated citizenship are framed by antecedent logics. This historical survey undergirds an ethnographic study of the state in migrant-saturated neighborhoods in Mumbai. Based on interviews and observations with officials and migrants, this article elucidates the rationales, capacities, and strategies that comprise the “sanctioning state.”

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The Marketization of HIV/AIDS Governance

Public–Private Partnerships and Bureaucratic Culture in Pakistan

Ayaz Qureshi

The World Bank-financed 'Enhanced HIV and AIDS Control Program' tried to reorganize HIV/AIDS governance in Pakistan by pushing a neoliberal agenda, marketizing the provision of publicly funded HIV prevention services. NGOs and the private sector competed for contracts with the government to provide services to sex workers, drug users, transgendered people and homosexuals who were deemed 'high risk' groups for HIV. With this contractualization emerged a new bureaucratic field that emphasized 'flexible organization' and 'efficiency' in getting things done in place of the traditional bureaucratic proceduralism characteristic of the Pakistani civil service. This new corporate-style bureaucratic culture and the ambiguities of a hastily contracted (and 'efficiently' rolled out) Enhanced Program meant public funds ending up in the pockets of a few powerful actors. Instead of generating more efficiency, the marketization of services dispossessed the intended beneficiaries of the World Bank loan.

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Frédéric Viguier, Michael Lipsky and Vincent Dubois

Welfare As It Is Frédéric Viguier

French Welfare Workers as Street-level Bureaucrats Michael Lipsky

A Reply to Michael Lipsky and Frédéric Viguier’s Comments Vincent Dubois

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Esther Hertzog

The article examines the welfare policy in Israel concerning 'minors at risk', mainly the cancellation of parents' custody over their offspring and their placement in welfare institutions. I suggest that the ideological discourse plays a major role in this context and terms like 'minor's well-being' are widely used for achieving public legitimacy of the social workers' control of this field. Describing and analysing case studies which I attended and followed since the beginning of the 1990s reveal the consequences of taking away children from their families and placing them in state institutions. The analysis focuses on the organised bureaucratic violence towards children and their parents which accompanies the legally enforced procedures. It also discusses the forceful means used by the staff in the institutions towards the inmates, as part of maintaining order and discipline. I suggest that violent behaviour of officials and organisations which use the state's organised power of coercion against minors and their parents is linked to personal, organisational and political motives.

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Eliza Guyol-Meinrath Echeverry

For decades, Canadian-based corporate development projects have been linked to acts of violence in countries all over the world. These acts include sexual violence, destruction of property, community displacement, the use of forced labor, and other forms of violence. While Canada has repeatedly failed to pass legislation holding Canadian-based corporations accountable for human rights abuses committed abroad, Canadian courts are increasingly asserting their jurisdiction over cases of development-related violence. Analyzing two ongoing court cases—Caal v. Hudbay, regarding sexual violence in Guatemala, and Araya v. Nevsun, regarding forced labor in Eritrea— this article examines the potential and limits of law to address the bureaucratic mechanisms and grounded experiences of corporate-development-related violence, and the changing relationship between states, corporations, law, and human rights in the modern global era.

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From Hope to §3-1

Legal Selves and Imaginaries in the Wake of Substance Treatment Reform in Norway

Aleksandra Bartoszko

This article offers insights into the subjectivities that emerge as patients negotiate treatment modalities in Norwegian opioid substitution treatment (OST). In the accounts, I explore patients’ growing engagements with legal imaginaries, and highlight the transformative powers of the law, to develop a concept of the legal self. The analysis shows the power of the law in an imagination of harm and the ways in which the law impacts social and personal change. In the ethnographic insights into the legal structures as a landscape of possibilities for disadvantaged groups, I illustrate the interstices between legal consciousness and mobilisation. This allows for and adds a new dimension to the concept of patienthood beyond the strictly medical experience in which legal narratives provide frames by which people construct meanings for their lived experiences. I consider an examination of both the effectiveness and the effects of the law as crucial for studies of citizenship.

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Introduction

Affective States—Entanglements, Suspensions, Suspicions

Mateusz Laszczkowski and Madeleine Reeves

The aim of this special issue is to bring a critical discussion of affect into debate with the anthropology of the state as a way of working toward a more coherent, ethnographically grounded exploration of affect in political life. We consider how the state becomes a 'social subject' in daily life, attending both to the subjective experience of state power and to the affective intensities through which the state is reproduced in the everyday. We argue that the state should be understood not as a 'fiction' to be deconstructed, but as constituted and sustained relationally through the claims, avoidances, and appeals that are made toward it and the emotional registers that these invoke. This article situates these arguments theoretically and introduces the subsequent ethnographic essays.

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Erin R. Eldridge

Coal ash, the waste generated at coal-burning power plants, is one of the largest waste streams in the United States, and it contains a range of contaminants, including arsenic and mercury. Disasters at coal ash waste sites in recent years have led to increased public scrutiny of coal ash in communities and have sparked policy debates, lawsuits, and complaints throughout the country. With emphasis on federal and state coal ash policies since the 1970s, this article highlights the synthesis of government and corporate power in coal ash politics, and the bureaucratic processes affecting communities near coal ash sites. Based on ethnographic research following the 2008 Tennessee Valley Authority coal ash disaster, as well as preliminary research on the “social life” of coal ash in North Carolina, this article specifically offers ethnographic insight into the lived experiences of social and ecological violence created, perpetuated, and normalized through bureaucratic processes.

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Organising Modern Synagogues

A Case of Multiple Models

Margaret Harris

Synagogues are organisations. For those who associate the word ‘organisation’ with business, industry or public bureaucracies this statement may be shocking. Nevertheless, when we move beyond the private world in which individuals and small groups of family and friends work together totally informally, we enter the world of organised activity (Hillis, 1989). This world includes synagogues.

Open access

Lisa Marie Borrelli, Cristina Douglas and Michele Fontefrancesco

Rules, Paper, Status: Migrants and Precarious Bureaucracy in Contemporary Italy Anna Tuckett. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2018, ISBN: 9781503606494, 192 pp., Pb. $25

Living before Dying: Imagining and Remembering Home Janette Davies. New York: Berghahn, 2018, ISBN: 978-1-78920-130-7, 158 pp., Pb. $27.95/£19.00.

Unfinished: The Anthropology of Becoming João Biehl and Peter Locke (eds), Durham: Duke University Press, 2017, ISBN: 978-0-8223-6945-5, 400 pp., Pb. $29.95.