Book

Claiming the State: Active Citizenship and Social Welfare in Rural India 
Cambridge University Press, 2018.

CUP | Amazon | Amazon India

Winner of the 2018 Joseph W. Elder Prize, American Institute for Indian Studies

Reviews: India Ink, Economic & Political Weekly

Book launch (Video)
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Listen (podcasts): Rocking Our Priors, Grand Tamasha, Slice of MIT

Kruks-Wisner’s book … rightly shifts attention to everyday claim-making, and asks important questions: Who makes claims, when, and how? Using meticulously collected data from northern India she finds surprising answers: Claim-making can occur in even the most unlikely pockets, especially when citizens develop social and economic networks extending beyond their locality or social group. Claiming the State should have a sizeable impact in reorienting studies of political participation towards life between elections, and in how we think of the practice of citizenship in contemporary India.

~ Tariq Thachil, Vanderbilt University

Studies in political science are often written as if citizens interact with the state only during elections. Yet, as Gabrielle Kruks-Wisner shows in her remarkable book, many of the most important interactions that people in rural Rajasthan have with state actors — about access to water, electricity, healthcare, food, shelter, and other forms of social protection — are almost daily activities. This makes it crucial to understand the conditions under which citizens do (or don’t) make claims for these services. Claiming the State provides compelling answers, and in so doing, provides new and important insights into how citizens in poor countries interact with their governments.

~ Daniel N. Posner, James Coleman Professor of International Development, UCLA

In contrast to much scholarship showing how socioeconomic status mediates access to benefits, Kruks-Wisner demonstrates that even the poorest and most marginalized citizens can be “active citizens” who exercise their rights through a variety of channels. In so doing, she gives voice to citizens who are largely invisible in social science and policy research.

~ Melani Cammett, Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs, Harvard University