Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Gabrielle Kruks-Wisner ─ Active Citizenship: Claim-Making and the Pursuit of Social Welfare in Rural India

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

4 p.m.

McKinney Conference Room

Gabrielle Kruks-Wisner will discuss her book, Active Citizenship: Claim-Making and the Pursuit of Social Welfare in Rural India. This book explores the everyday practices through which poor citizens of the world’s largest democracy make claims on the state for social welfare. Drawing on an original survey of 2210 households as well as 500 in-depth interviews in 105 villages of Rajasthan, she argues that citizen action is state-induced and socially produced, shaped by direct encounters with and observations of public officials, and by the accounts of others that circulate within – and beyond – communities. More porous social and spatial boundaries, which enable exposure beyond the immediate community and locality, increase the likelihood and breadth of claim-making by developing citizens’ knowledge, expectations, and linkages to the state.

Gabrielle Kruks-Wisner is an assistant professor in the political science department at Boston College, where she teaches courses on the politics of India, comparative politics of development, state-society relations, and grassroots politics. During the academic year 2015-2016 she is in residence at Harvard University, as an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies.

Her research focuses on citizen-state relations, local governance, and social welfare in developing countries, with a regional focus on India. She has also worked and conducted researched in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa on issues related to economic and social rights, service delivery, disaster risk reduction, environmental sustainability, and local politics. She received a PhD in Political Science (2013) and a Masters in International Development & Regional Planning (2006) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a BA in Sociology/Anthropology from Swarthmore College. Her professional experience includes work with development and human rights NGOs, including Oxfam America, WaterAid, Ashoka, Washington Office on Latin America, and the Urban Justice Center.

Development and Governance Seminar