Claiming the State: Active Citizenship and Social Welfare in Rural India

Cambridge University Press (2018)

Winner of the 2018 Joseph WElder Prize,
American Institute for Indian Studies

CUP | Amazon | Amazon India
Table of Contents

Book launch (Video)
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Featured in: India InkGrand TamashaRocking Our Priors, Slice of MIT, India in Transition
Reviews: Economic & Political Weekly, Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, Pacific Affairs, Asian Studies



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