The Moral Setting for Governance in Keonjhar: The Cultural Framing of Public Episodes and Development Processes in Northern Orissa, India
Classic ethnographic monographs on eastern India had pinpointed profound changes in political organization. In recent decades, ethnography has avoided policy-relevant research in line with a general narrowing of research. Current donor interests in governance reform have created new opportunities. In Orissa, the authors have researched trends in governance and can confirm a major disjuncture between community structures and government rule, so supporting a trend and social analysis that others have too readily dismissed as “anarcho-communitarian”. The tribal villagers studied were wary of all rule, and experienced the state as a site of humiliation rather than of empowerment. They were expected to respect the officials as “proxy parents” but would not, as uncouth aborigines, be treated in turn as “sons”. The type of governance reform envisaged by donors depends on officialdom with a lighter touch. This will require ethnographic understanding and intensive inputs to counter tenacious ideas of rule over non-equivalent citizens.
Volume (Year): 34 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
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