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Land, development and the political class: In a translocal ‘Londoni’ village

Hoque, A; (2020) Land, development and the political class: In a translocal ‘Londoni’ village. Contributions to Indian Sociology , 54 (2) pp. 215-235. 10.1177/0069966720919239. Green open access

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Abstract

This article expands Akhil Gupta’s (1995, American Ethnologist, 22(2), 375–402) thesis of ‘blurred boundaries’ between ‘the state’ and ‘society’ in South Asia to incorporate the impact of historic labour migrations, which complicate established conceptions of the state in Bangladesh. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in an area of high migration to the UK, the article draws attention to a class of transnational politicians, and their intra-class conflicts of interest, in shaping local-level politics. The article supports Faguet’s (2017, Modern Asian Studies 51(6), 1668–94) contention that the decentralisation of local government has led to the emergence of vernacularised political economies that operate in the shadow of the state, which are also intrinsically facilitated by it. It suggests that state actors appropriate symbols, offices and resources, together with traditional authority and kinship dynamics, to create an idiosyncratic polity. Aspiration towards power that might lead to the occupation of state offices are determined by either the aspirant’s status as a British citizen (Londoni) or through intimate social and economic connections to Britain through kinship (gushti) networks. The article thus makes a broader contribution to the existing literature on the anthropology of the state, transnational politics and the nexus of power, money and migration in postcolonial contexts.

Type: Article
Title: Land, development and the political class: In a translocal ‘Londoni’ village
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0069966720919239
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/0069966720919239
Language: English
Additional information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Keywords: transnational politicians, local governance, the ‘state’ in Bangladesh, Londoni Belt, labour migration, remittance economy
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10102841
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