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Saturday, March 24, 2012

CFP AAA 2012 - Use, Misuse, and Scrupulous Citizenship in India

CFP: American Anthropological Association Meeting 2012, San Francisco

Provisional Panel Title: Use, Misuse, and Scrupulous Citizenship in India

Co-Organized by Nicole Rigillo (McGill University) and Megha Sehdev
(Johns Hopkins University)

This panel examines the shifting valence of the term "misuse" in India.
The concept of misuse is widely deployed by the Indian media and by
moral communities to cast doubt on those who seek to leverage the law
and other institutions. We ask how ethnography, in conversation with
legal studies, might be used to illuminate fears, debates, and openings
engendered by the "generosity" of rules that make them susceptible to
misuse. Scholars of South Asia have described concepts of vexation,
lack, and mimicry as colonial evaluations of indigenous claims to
self-rule targeted at both the incomplete subjectivities of the
colonized, as well as the "malformed" and aberrant nature of Indian
forms of sociality and governance. The postcolonial state is further
described as a "rogue" or "failed" form increasingly parceled out to
bodies such as commissions, panchayats, schemes, corporations and NGOs,
where justice is differentiated and arrived at through a range of formal
and informal relations. In this panel, we ask how accusations of misuse
have congealed around a number of cases (welfare schemes, commercial
activities, gender laws, technological regulations), becoming sites
where performances of citizenship and rights-bearing are publically
contested. By citing "misuse" what kinds of public goods, interests or
entitlements do associational groups hold to be at stake? How can we
describe the relays that unfold between moral sensibilities and modes of
reasoned argument in emerging regimes of governance? At the same time we
ask how competing activisms of "use" and "misuse" reconfigure the
boundaries of duty, obligation, and protection in particular moral
economies. The panel explores how misuse sits within the agonistic
terrain of claiming citizenship rights in India. We invite papers that
engage with misuse in India – as accusation, suspicion, argument,
offense, critique or denial - in relation (but not limited) to:

- Governance and the State
- Citizenship and Civil Society
- Rights and Claims
- Regulation and Biopolitics
- Transnational and Domestic Corporations
- Policing, Military Interventions, and Force
- Recognition, Categories and Classification systems

Please submit a 250-word abstract to Nicole Rigillo
( by April 2, 2012

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