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Über dieses Buch

Drawing on case studies from the global South, this book explores the politics of mediated citizenship in which citizens are represented to the state through third party intermediaries. The studies show that mediation is both widely practiced and multi-directional and that it has an important role to play in deepening democracy in the global South.



Introduction: The Crucial Role of Mediators in Relations between States and Citizens

Introduction: The Crucial Role of Mediators in Relations between States and Citizens

This book sets out to answer a deceptively simple question: how do citizens and state engage in the global south? The answer is not simple; it is indeed complex and multifaceted, but we argue that much of the time this engagement involves a practice of intermediation. From local to international level, citizens are almost always represented to the state through third parties that are distinguished by the intermediary role that they play. These intermediaries include political parties, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community-based organisations, social movements, armed non-state actors, networks and individuals. For its part, the state often engages citizens through intermediaries from private service providers to civil society activists and even local militia. Intermediation is thus both widely practised and multi-directional in relations between states and citizens in the global south. Indeed, so significant is the role of intermediaries in the engagement between states and citizens that it may well be useful to unpack the commonplace conception of ‘state-society relations’ in terms of the term ‘state-intermediary-citizen’ relations.
Laurence Piper, Bettina von Lieres

Mediating the City


1. Mediation and the Contradictions of Representing the Urban Poor in South Africa: The Case of SANCO Leaders in Imizamo Yethu in Cape Town, South Africa

The formal system of local governance in South Africa has the ‘ward’ as its lowest and smallest electoral level — a spatial unit consisting of between 5,000 and 15,000 voters. The ward is equivalent to the ‘constituency’ in much of the rest of the world. Notably, the history of South Africa means that the vast majority of people live in ‘communities’ or neighbourhoods that are far smaller in scale than the ward, and most of these are the site of multiple claims of informal leadership by a variety of local organisations and their leaders. For example, the Cape Town ward, in which our case study is located, includes at least five different communities, distinguished in racial and class terms.
Laurence Piper, Claire Bénit-Gbaffou

2. Citizen Power or State Weakness? The Enduring History of Collective Action in a Hyderabadi Bazaar

As I was leaving the town planner’s office in Hyderabad, a uniformed guard at the main door held out his palm and smiled. ‘Baksheesh’, he said. ‘For what?’ I asked. ‘Madam, you met the town planner’, he responded. I still did not understand why he was demanding money since he had little to do with the appointment. A few days later, I read the autobiography of a courtier who was the sixth Nizam’s [the ruler] tutor and later his advisor in the late 19th-century Hyderabad, which was the capital of the princely state of the Deccan. The behaviour of the guard in the town planner’s office was similar to that of a chobdar (doorman) and of a vaghera (headman) of the previous century. When Sarwar Jang first arrived in the city with a letter of introduction, he found it almost impossible to get an appointment with the Premier Minister of the Deccan. Every morning, he would come to the premier minister’s residence and wait. But each day, he returned home disappointed. He writes in his memoirs:
My friend the Cavalryman approached me, and said in a friendly manner that I had better retire, or the ‘Chobdars’ [doormen] would turn me out by ‘force’ or he added, promise them some Bakshish [a tip] to allow you to remain … For an interview, he added, the strongest possible influence [wielded by a Headman] was required.
Shylashri Shankar

3. The Politics of Mediation in Fragile Democracies: Building New Social Contracts through, and for, Democratic Citizenship in Angola

It has become widely accepted that the institutions of liberal democracy have a significant, but inadequate role to play in building inclusive societies in the global south (Gaventa 2006). While acknowledging the importance of the pluralist politics it proposes, many commentators argue that liberal democracy offers ineffective and weak forms of political representation for marginalised communities. Excluded groups frequently fail to access crucial state resources through liberal democracy’s institutional and party-political processes. They often do not have the capacity to represent themselves in the formal corridors of liberal democracy and the institutions of liberal democracy, in turn, do not have the flexibility to accommodate the highly informal political practices of marginalised and unorganised people (Chatterjee 2004). As a result, for many marginalised people in the global south, the liberal state is disconnected from their everyday lives and appears to function ‘as much as an absence as a presence’ (Corbridge et al. 2005: 20).
Bettina von Lieres

4. ‘Parallel Power’ in Rio de Janeiro: Coercive Mediators and the Fragmentation of Citizenship in the Favela

Mediation is in part a reflection of the nature of the relationship between the favela and the contemporary Brazilian state, which has a particular historical character. In Rio, armed actors have come to act as mediators as a result of their position within the favela, which has evolved alongside the favela-state relationship. The current constitution, ratified in 1988, marked the end of more than 20 years of military dictatorship and expanded considerably the number of rights and the concept of citizenship in Brazil set out by the 1934 Vargas Constitution (Kingstone 2000). Beyond the rights set out in the constitution, the document also marks an important shift in the mode of interaction between the state and citizens, as it also heralded the rise of formally instituted citizen participation through consultative councils at different levels of government (Coelho 2004; Cornwall and Coelho 2007). There is a significant body of research that examines the effectiveness and dynamics of these participatory mechanisms, including participatory budgeting, health councils and environmental councils. Brazil’s attempts at participatory democracy have attracted global attention.
Joanna Wheeler

Mediating the National


5. Challenging the Gatekeepers: Disability Rights Advocacy and the Struggle for Self-Representation within Lebanon’s Post-war Sectarian Democracy

Marginalised groups across the world have been struggling for their rights as citizens from the beginning of the modern state era. These struggles have been particularly challenging within the global south where emerging states have been weaker, the effects of capitalist penetration more unevenly distributed and, hence, where the concentration of socio-economic and political power has been more pronounced. Particularly challenging for many marginalised groups has been the resilient perpetuation of clientelist dynamics that have thrived within these conditions of socio-economic and political inequality — giving rise to political systems dominated by mediated rather than direct/unmediated access to the state and to the rights and resources that should flow from one’s status of being a citizen. Much of the history of citizenship across the world — now being played out within most of the countries of the global south — has been characterised by this very struggle to enhance the dynamics of mediated access to the state, if not establish direct access to the fruits of citizenship (Waldner 1999).
Paul Kingston

6. Mediation in India’s Policy Spaces

Much has been written about India’s historic social policy, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), some celebrating but most criticising its implementation processes and outcomes as a pro-poor rights-based law. This chapter looks at the other end of the policy process — the making of this policy — in order to demystify both the mediators who were involved in the Act’s making and their actions that led to the Act being formulated in its present shape. In identifying the mediators, this chapter disaggregates ‘state’ and ‘society’ actors involved in the policy-making process and critically assesses their positionalities to posit that mediators sit within, outside as well as in between these two groups. In fact, as my analysis will show, mediation can be understood as a tenet of state-society interactions, through which the distinction between the state and society is reproduced.
Deepta Chopra

7. Mediating Active Citizenship and Social Mobility in Working-Class Schools: The Case of Equal Education in Khayelitsha, Cape Town

Although the Equal Education (EE) social movement is focused on improving public education in South Africa, it is part of a much wider network of community-based organisations in Khayelitsha that are concerned with active citizenship issues relating to health (especially HIV/AIDS), sanitation and human rights awareness and litigation. The long-term objective of these partner organisations is to develop youth leaders that will drive the formation of a national rights-based, working class-focused, social movement in townships throughout South Africa. These organisations have emerged over the past decade, beginning with the formation of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), an organisation established in 1998 to fight for HIV treatment (see Robins 2008). The mode of mobilisation of the partner organisations strongly reflects the influence of TAC’s highly effective brand of AIDS activism. In fact, a number of the key activists in EE, and those in the Social Justice Coalition (SJC), honed their activist skills with the TAC.
Steven Robins, Brahm Fleisch

8. Mobilising for Democracy: Civil Society Mediation and Access to Policy in India

This chapter discusses the mediating role played by civil society actors in creating an interface between citizens and the state that enables citizens to access state policy using the right to information provided under the Right to Information Act (RTI) of 2005. The two cases presented here are about the use of the RTI by poor citizens, specifically women, to access information about various state-sponsored programmes related to subsidised food, livelihood and wages, water supply, education, loans, pensions and the like. Access to the RTI thus unlocks information about a plethora of development and welfare programmes the state has instituted for the poor. In mobilising women for rights and information, civil society brings women to interface and interact with the state. Civil society in this case comes into picture and prominence because, while the state makes pro-poor policies, it does little to ensure that poor citizens effectively access these policies.
Ranjita Mohanty

9. Mediation at the Grassroots: Claiming Rights by Empowering Citizens in Bangladesh

Although Bangladesh has been a parliamentary democracy with a popularly elected government in power for the last two decades, citizens experience neither the formal promise of equality, nor an accountable and transparent state. Indeed, citizen participation in the democratic process is limited to voting at the time of five-yearly elections. State-citizen relations are fragile in most sectors and the state is near absent in the governance structures of the arenas and institutions that the poor populate. This disjuncture between ‘the people’ and the so-called democratic state is evident from the fact that many rural poor people perceive the state/government as a group of powerful, distant, inaccessible people or an individual who rules the land or ‘kingdom’ (Mahmud and Huq 2008).
Lopita Huq, Simeen Mahmud

Mediating the Post-National


10. Mediation as Diplomacy: Dynamics of Governance and Representation in Brazilian Indigenous Societies

European colonisation shattered the indigenous societies of the Americas. Over five centuries, these societies were subjected to comprehensive military defeat, cultural suppression and political subjugation. A combination of violence, dispossession and disease led to catastrophic demographic decline and left indigenous peoples as minority populations in all but a handful of the territories they had occupied when Columbus made landfall in 1492. Yet they endured — and in many places they are now resurgent. The democratic ‘third wave’ of the late 20th century created space for the resurgence of identity politics, and in this context indigenous social movement organisations emerged. They successfully articulated demands for cultural and political recognition with the struggle for land and resources, building transnational alliances and securing rights guarantees through favourable legal judgements and constitutional reforms.
Alex Shankland

11. Achieving First Nation Self-Government in Yukon, Canada: The Mediating Role of the Council for Yukon Indians (CYI), 1975–1995

On 24 January 2012 over 800 First Nation Chiefs, youths, and Elders met in Ottawa, Canada, for a Crown-First Nations Gathering to renew the historic relationship between the two parties. The summit built upon the important milestones of the administration of Prime Minister Stephen Harper (2006-present) by way of the National Apology in 2008 to former students of Indian residential schools and Canada’s endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2010. The goal is to move forward based on treaties that recognise First Nations’ constitutionally enshrined, inherent right to self-government. First Nations seek to affirm their jurisdiction, secure fair and sustainable funding to build effective governmental and institutional capacity and advance new public and private sector partnerships (Assembly of First Nations (AFN) 2012).
Roberta Rice

12. Transnationalisation as Mediation: Uyghur’s Rights-Based Mobilisation Outside China

In June 2009 inter-ethnic clashes between Han and Uyghur groups in the Chinese province of Xinjiang claimed 197 deaths and thousands of disappearances in less than a week. By April 2013, new inter-ethnic clashes had claimed more than 20 further deaths, and sporadic violence continues until today. In spite of their frequency, these clashes seemed to surprise the global public, as both the Uyghur and the dynamics of ethnic issues in China are relatively unexplored issues in global politics.
Laura Trajber Waisbich


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