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Accepted Paper:

At the Margins: Civic and political (dis)engagement in fragile, conflict and violence-affected settings  
Miguel Loureiro (Institute of Development Studies) Affaf Ahmed (Human Rights Commission of Pakistan) Maheen Pracha (Human Rights Commission of Pakistan) Danyal Anwar Khan (Human Rights Commission of Pakistan) Mudabir Ali (QAU Islamabad) Rizwan Ullah Wazir (Leuphana University, Luneburg)

Paper short abstract:

How do chronically poor and marginalised citizens and the state engage with each other in fragile, conflict and violence-affected settings? Using Governance at the Margins data from Pakistan we posit that there are 3 types of engagement: no engagement; mediated engagement; and coercive engagement.

Paper long abstract:

The poorest and most marginalised citizens of any country need the state the most. They require a strong social contract as they are the most in need of constitutional protection and basic social and economic rights such as social protection, healthcare, education, and housing. Yet, while this is the group of citizens that needs the state the most, it is often the one that exhibits the most fractious relationship with the state. Using data from the Governance at the Margins project, we suggest that in fragile, conflict and violence-affected settings poor and marginalised citizens and the state either do not engage with each other, do so through mediated engagement, or through coercive engagement. First, poor and marginalised are disengaged because of a lack of awareness of entitlements and rights, combined with an absence of interest to engage from the state. Second, this absenteeism makes them engage with intermediaries, their first port of call in the governance chain to access the state. Many intermediaries have an incentive to keep them disconnected for their own political reasons. As all information they receive is filtered through intermediaries’ political incentives, poor and marginalised never see the state; instead they see the intermediaries’ version of the state. Finally, in the rare moments when poor and marginalised mobilise and create a political movement to engage directly with the state to claim rights (at times with the help of intermediaries) the state either ignores their efforts or attempts to crush their movements through violence.

Panel P18b
Governance at the margins: Understanding public authority in FCVAS II
  Session 1 Wednesday 30 June, 2021, -