Punjab Research Group

cfp: International Conference at Department of Political Science, GC University, Lahore, Pakistan. November 12–14, 2014

Posted in Conferences by Pippa on July 30, 2014

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON LOCAL REPRESENTATION OF POWER IN SOUTH ASIA

The Department of Political Science, GC University, Lahore, is organizing a Three-Day International Conference on Local Representation of Power in South Asia to be held on November 12–14, 2014. Scholarly traditions often associate improved governance outcomes with the devolution of fiscal, political, and administrative responsibilities to lower tiers of government (Laerhoven, 2008; Ostrom, 2001). Theoretical and empirical studies hypothesize that decentralization of power is expected to be directly proportionate to increased public sector efficiency and local development through strengthened local governance. It is supposedly done through citizens’ direct participation in governance, public delivery, dispute resolution, revenue generation, and spending functions by bringing legitimate power of the state ‘closer to the people’. It is therefore, important to explore who gets to represent whom at local level in ‘developing’ countries of world’s most populous region – South Asia – with comparatively less stratified governmental structures.

Devolution of power – primarily that of administration and finance – to local level helps orderly provision of goods and services at grass root level. Most of public issues that local governments aim to address are manageable within their particular jurisdiction; and benefits from their actions and delivery of services or safety is limited to a specific area and confined to the populous of that area. However, many public issues at local level do not fall so easily into geographic jurisdictional limits. They are either impossible to tackle or are severely limited or degraded by the presence of geographic jurisdictions. Hence defining this ‘localness’ of issues and that of geographic area is of crucial importance and varies from country to country (Perlman & Jimenez, 2010).

Local self government units fulfill their existence with providing participation, autonomy and efficiency as three main principles of local democracy (Rozen, 2013). Research now focuses local governance and representation of power in terms of “diverse and varied set of institutions and processes” (Stoker, 2004). South Asia exhibits a variegated spectrum of forms of local representation of power ranging from colonial legacies and traditional/indigenous power structures to borrowed and innovative systems of local self governments with varying degree of success, public delivery, and local acceptance. These structures are shaped and in turn shape social structures.

The conference seeks to explore various forms of local representation of power in South Asia, their degree of success in providing public services and safety, their role in arbitration and adjudication, and the issues like electoral process, administrative capacity, financial autonomy, and accountability of local governments.

For submission, kindly send a short CV and an abstract of 250­–400 words, clearly indicating objectives, methodology, results, and conclusions to Mr. M. Usman A. Siddiqi (Email: write2siddiqi@live.com) on any of the following themes:

Theory of Local Representation of Power

Concepts and Theories of Power and Local Government

Theories of Devolution, Decentralization, and Delegation

Devolution and Governance

Federalism and Intergovernmental Relation

Governing Spaces and Populations

Urban versus Rural Governed Spaces

Citizenship and Urban and Rural Politics

Leadership and Political Will

Gap between Theory and Practice

Traditional Power Structures and Local Governments

Indigenous/Traditional Local Power Structures

Informal Power Structures and Local Politics

Who Gets to Represent Whom in Local Governments

Conflict and Conflict Resolution at Local Level

Criminality and Local Politics

Local Governance and Social Capital

Comparing Local Governments in South Asia

Local Government Systems in Countries of South Asia

Realities, Successful Models and Best Practices

Local Representation of Power: Democratic versus Authoritarian Regimes

Intervention of Central and State Governments in Local Bodies

Single versus Multi Member Ward Systems

Participative Democracy, Representation, Elections, Politics and Local Governments

Democratic Process and Politics at Local Level

Local government electoral system

Issues in Local Bodies Elections

Party Basis versus Non Party Basis Elections at Local Level

Legal and Constitutional Matters related to Local Bodies Elections

Maximizing People Participation in Local Affairs

Provision of Services: Management and Performance

Localness of Issues and Geographic Area (Jurisdiction of Local Governments)

Local versus Regional Problems

Areas of Public Delivery at Local Level

Administrative and Management Capacity of Local Governments

Governance Challenges at Local Level

Health, Education, Solid Waste Management, Energy Development etc.

Security, Conflict Resolution, Arbitration and Adjudication

Finance and Accountability

Revenue Generation and Spending Functions of Local Governments

Issues related to Financial Autonomy

Development and Implementation of Accountability Mechanisms at Local Level

Political Accountability

Administrative Accountability

Capacity Building, Development, and Reforms

Deepening Democracy: Innovations in Empowered Participatory Governance

Building Constructive Relationships among Central, State, and Local Governments for Creating and Maintaining High Standard of Services

Promoting Social and Economic Development at the Local Level

The Challenges of the Future: Change, Transformation, and Sustainability

Best Practice and Lessons: Proposing New Structures and Better Governance

Framework for Administrative and Regulatory Reforms

Class, nation and religion: changing nature of Akali Dal politics in Punjab, India by Pritam Singh

Posted in Articles by Pippa on February 18, 2014

Pritam Singh∗ Faculty of Business, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford OX3 0SB, UK

Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, 2014 Vol. 52, No. 1, 55–77

Abstract:

The Akali Dal is the best organised political party in Punjab and has ruled over Punjab for a longer period than any other political party since the creation of the Punjabi-speaking state in 1966. It articulates aspirations of Punjabi regional nationalism along with trying to protect the interests of the Sikhs as a religious minority in India and abroad. As a part of shaping Punjab’s economic future, it deals with the pressures of Indian and global capitalism. This paper is an attempt to track the multi-faceted pressures of class, religion and nationalism in the way Akali Dal negotiates its politics in Indian federalism.

To read the full article: Class, nation and religion- Changing nature of Akali Dal politics

Punjabi Subaltern Summit – 2012

Posted in Chandigarh, Conferences, Events by Pippa on December 30, 2011

Sunday, January 15, 2012, 11:00 AM to 05:00 PM

ICSSR Seminar Hall, Panjab University, Chandigarh

Agenda

The Punjabi Subaltern Summit is a one-of-its-kind conclave where politicians, thinkers, change agents, writers, artists, academicians and media professionals will try to find a common ground on the pressing problems that plague our state. An attempt to break free from the parochial structures that have suppressed the social narrative on lesser-known issues like caste, religion, representation and federalism. By harnessing the spirit and dialect of new media, it strives to infuse the intellectual mainstream with a sense of purpose and direction, bringing back the long-lost ebullience into its ethos. This non-partisan forum is a bold attempt reclaim the mantle of Punjabiyat.

One of its immediate aims is to influence the pre-poll debate in Punjab. We plan to organize this event every year in a bigger and better format, expecting that it will become a fixture or an annual pilgrimage for the regional intelligentsia.

For detailed information on the agenda and issues to be discussed, please visit: http://www.subaltern.in.

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