Workshop: The People's State – University of Copenhagen

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Workshop: The People’s State

University of Copenhagen, 18-19 March 2019
Convened by Ravinder Kaur and Nayanika Mathur

Over the past two decades, a rich scholarship has emerged around the “everyday state” as an analytical category of social and political life. What has underpinned this approach was the idea that state power is not pre-constituted, it is established through routine and banality as well as spectacular performance of its authority in the public sphere. This insight is critical, more so in the current moment when the established structures of governance – national and global – are said to be rendered fragile, even weakened by the rise of “the people” as a political force. 

Taking the current anxieties about the return of “the people” and the impending breakdown of democratic structures as our focal point, we set out to rethink concepts of the state, the political, governance, and the economy in relation to 21st century political subjectivities from a variety of vantage points in South Asia.

The workshop invites scholars across disciplines of history, anthropology, political science, and political economy to trace the past and the present, and indeed speculate on the future of politics and political subjectivities.