Talk on Studying State Violence in India @ Ambedkar University Delhi [Oct 9]: Invitation Open

School of Law, Governance and Citizenship, Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD) invites you to a Talk on Studying state violence in India: The politics and ethics of doing fieldwork by Dr Santana Khanikar.

Date: 9th October 2018 (Tuesday), 2 pm.

Venue: Committee Room I, Karampura Campus


Despite presence of values and ideals preaching non-violence, violence is pervasive in India, in societal institutions, in the institutions of the state, and at the interstices of the two. In such a context, asking questions about legitimacy of the state, as I do in my recent book (OUP 2018), requires an examination of the spaces and practices of violence.

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Looking at the Indian state as one that practices violence on a routine basis towards its own citizens, I ask the question whether this state is legitimate in the eyes of the suffering people. If it is, is it legitimate despite the violence or does such legitimacy have roots in the violence of the state institutions themselves.

While theoretically the state seems to be a unified category, in real existence the state is a set of localized and personified concrete institutions, and hence to find answers to the questions that I ask, I had to observe, listen to and participate in the field of interaction of people and things that give a body to the state and people that are targets of state violence.

The specific histories of the Indian state and the unique societal hierarchies in the south Asian context mark such interactions and riddle a study of such practices and interactions. In the proposed presentation, I would like to reflect on some aspects of doing fieldwork to study the state and its relations to people in India, especially in its practices of violence.

About the Speaker

Dr Santana Khanikar has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Delhi and currently teaches at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. She is the author of State, Violence, and Legitimacy in India (Oxford University Press, New Delhi).


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