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The panel examines how the state determine and (de)regulate and/or are determined and (de)regulated by ordinary people's everyday ideas and practices of institutional and personal responsibility in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Anthropological reconsiderations of formal and informal encounters of ordinary people with, and the simultaneous (re)production of, state institutions, agencies and processes through the 'capillaries of everyday life' can illuminate our understanding of the complex ways in which the idea and practices of 'responsibility' are constituted in particular social formations. The experiences of people in their everyday transactions with the institutions and agents of the state constitute a critical barometer for gauging the meanings and the significance of state-citizens' relations. In this panel, we wish to tease out the everyday grammars of state and citizens' responsibilities by examining how the state, through its institutions, agencies, processes, etc. determine and (de)regulate and/or are determined and (de)regulated by ordinary people's engagement with the relationship between institutional and personal (citizen) responsibility in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in relation to infrastructures, education, health, safety and security, and citizenship. We are interested in the multiple sites in which ethnographic insight, based on theoretical reflections, can help us in explaining what happens when people come 'face to face' with the state - sometimes as (a) 'metaphorical Person(s).' How do everyday encounters with the state provoke particular meanings of 'responsibility'? How do everyday experiences of ordinary people, in both their symbolic and material dimensions, (re)constitute the ideas and practices of rights and responsibilities? We invite perspectives that throw intelligible light on everydayness and the ideas and practices of responsibility.