Seeking the Local State: Gender, Caste, and the Pursuit of Public Services in Post-Tsunami India


Kruks-Wisner, Gabrielle. 2011. “Seeking the Local State: Gender, Caste, and the Pursuit of Public Services in Post-Tsunami India.” World Development 39 (7): 1143–54.

Author: Gabrielle Kruks-Winser


How do ordinary citizens access the state in the world’s largest democracy? This paper examines a critical case from India, exploring the channels—formal and informal—through which residents of two tsunami-affected villages pursued public services following the 2004 disaster. External shocks, such as the proliferation of aid and NGOs, created moments in which individuals interacted differently with public agencies. Different village-level groups attempted to access state resources through distinct sets of intermediaries; marginalized groups (women and caste minorities) appeared most willing and likely to utilize formal government channels, while men from the locally dominant caste turned to informal, non-state channels.

Keywords: local governance, institutions, public services, disasters, South Asia, India

Topics: Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Governance, NGOs Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2011

© 2024 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at