Seeking the Local State: Gender, Caste, and the Pursuit of Public Services in Post-Tsunami India
Summary How do ordinary citizens access the state in the world's largest democracy? This paper examines a critical case from India, exploring the channels--formal and informal--through which residents of two tsunami-affected villages pursued public services following the 2004 disaster. External shocks, such as the proliferation of aid and NGOs, created moments in which individuals interacted differently with public agencies. Different village-level groups attempted to access state resources through distinct sets of intermediaries; marginalized groups (women and caste minorities) appeared most willing and likely to utilize formal government channels, while men from the locally dominant caste turned to informal, non-state channels.
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