What does politics mean for those who simultaneously confront persistent deprivations and increasing inequalities but are also promised a share in political participation? The proposed panel explores this question.
Over 1.6 billion people in the world live in poverty. Millions more remain, or are becoming, vulnerable. Although more people than ever before have access to some sort of representative government, growing concentrations of wealth mar the contemporary world. Under such circumstances, what does politics mean for the world's poor and those vulnerable to poverty, people who simultaneously confront persistent deprivations and increasing inequalities but are also promised a share in political participation? Do poor and vulnerable people absorb the universalistic ideas associated with such promises of political participation? Or, do their precarious lives overwhelm them so much so that they cannot act beyond particularistic concerns? Do the poor comply with the structures and relations of oppression? Or do they offer spirited resistance to the perpetrators of oppression? Are poor people's politics one of cooption into the state, or is it one of evasion? Such binaries have typically framed discussions on the political practices of impoverished people who face oppression in their daily lives. The proposed panel will invite papers which discuss these questions. Papers that emphasise one or the other side of the binary will be welcomed although papers that are willing to eschew binaries will be encouraged. Contributions that analyse poor people's politics in 'democracies', 'autocracies' and everything that lies in between will all be welcome. The three-session panel will welcome scholars who take seriously people's actually existing political practices, including the thought, imagination and ideas that underpin these.