Olivier Dabène (Dir.)

Amérique latine - L’Année politique is a publication by CERI-Sciences Po’s Political Observatory of Latin America and the Caribbean (OPALC). The study extends the work presented on the Observatory’s website (www.sciencespo.fr/opalc) by offering tools for understanding a continent that is in the grip of deep transformations.

Christophe Jaffrelot et Nicolas Belorgey

In 2009, India embarked on a scheme for the biometric identification of its people. This project was conceived by IT companies based in Bengaluru. The programme’s main architect, Nandan Nilekani, was in fact the head of one of these firms. The idea behind the project was to use digital technology – and the data it enables to collect – for economic ends. But to register the entire Indian population, the State had to be persuaded to be involved in the project, later named as "Aadhaar". The rationale that secured the government’s engagement was financial: using Aadhaar would help disburse aid to the poor while minimising the "leakages" caused by corruption and duplicates among beneficiaries. Yet, possessing an Aadhaar number gradually became necessary for a number of other things, too, including tax payment. When approached to rule on this matter, the Supreme Court dragged its feet and did not seek to decisively protect people’s privacy. As for the avowed aim of the scheme itself, Aadhaar did not improve the quality of the services rendered to the poor – far from it – and its economic impact, too, remains to be proven, even if operators who believe that "data is the new oil" consider benefits in a long term perspective.

300,000 French people are permanently settled in the British capital city. They do not form a monolitic community, but various social groups marked by differences in economic and cultural capital. The French state has developed a strong institutional presence to meet the needs of this London based diaspora (consular services, cultural institute, schools, business support). The system is supplemented by associative structures that provide social services. French Londoners also have their own political representation: members of the French parliament, consular advisers, members of the Advisory Committee of the Union of French Nationals Abroad. These mandates give rise to elections and an extraterritorialisation of French politics. Brexit obliges the French Londoners—who have retained their French nationality—to consider the future of their resident status. They will have to negotiate with the British State. The new migration policies of the United Kingdom will also make the possibility to settle in London more difficult for French citizens.

Etienne Smith

While it often attracts media attention for its atypical aspects, the vote of French nationals abroad has rarely been the subject of in-depth fieldwork. This study of electoral dynamics in the ninth constituency of French citizens abroad (North Africa and West Africa) during the presidential and legislative elections of 2017 questions the constraints on the nomination process and candidacies, the transnational blurring of what is at stake during the election, and the effects of atypical campaigning in electoral archipelagos characterized both by their strong localism and their particular connection to broader geopolitical issues. This contribution shows how the meanings and stakes of extraterritorial voting are multivocal depending on the actors involved (candidates, voters, local media, authorities in the host country). Does overseas voting bring about a French community abroad or does it rather reveal the persistent differentiations at work between French communities according to origin, relationship to the “host” country and to “autochtony”, social status and the temporality of integration abroad?

The history of industrial capitalism and its modes of domination is intimately linked to that of violent entrepreneurs deploying their coercive resources at the service of workplace discipline, the extraction of surplus value and the securitization of the accumulation cycle. The relationship between capital and coercion is always fraught with tensions, though, and sustains new vulnerabilities among security-consuming elites. The manufacturing economy of Karachi is a particularly fertile ground for studying this endogenous production of insecurity by security devices. The relations between Karachi’s factory owners and their guards have generated their own economy of suspicion. Various attempts to conjure this shaky domination have generated new uncertainties, calling for new methods of control to keep the guards themselves under watch.

One of the most striking phenomena of China’s recent history is the singular life trajectory of the generation born in large metropolises between the end of the 1940s and the early 1950s. After having endured with full force their country’s upheavals and ruptures after 1949, the people of this generation occupy dominant positions in most sectors of social life today. Yet despite its importance, the history of this generation—who contributed to build what China is today—has not triggered much academic research. The seven life stories presented in this study provide information and a testimony that help understand how these people elaborate a discourse on their personal experience. Analysing this discourse makes it possible to grasp the connections between individual life paths and events as well as social determinations.

Business and politics in India have been closely connected since the colonial era, when entrepreneurs financed politicians who, in exchange, spared them some of the bureaucratic red tape. This proximity has endured after independence, even if Nehru’s official socialism subjected it to some constraints. Far from mitigating corruption, economic liberalization during the 1990s actually amplified it when large investors, attracted by the opening of the Indian market, paid huge bribes to political leaders, who often became businessmen themselves and forced public banks to lend to industrialists close to them, while businessmen were elected to Parliament, increasing insider trading. As it is observed in the modern era under Narendra Modi, be it at the national level and in his state of Gujarat, crony capitalism is well illustrated by Modi’s relationship to Gautam Adani, the rising star of Indian business. Crony capitalism has a financial cost (due to the under-taxation of companies and dubious debts on the banks’ balance sheets), a social cost (due to underpaid work and a reduction of the expenditure of education or health for lack of fiscal resources) and the environment (crony capitalists disregarding the most basic standards).

Kevin Parthenay

In Latin America, as elsewhere in the world, regional and subregional organizations have multiplied recently. Scholars tend to focus on the variety of regionalisms or their ever changing nature (post-liberal, post-hegemonic...). This study, through a political sociology of regionalism approach, examines Latin American regions and their actors and goes beyond the first set of questions. In this perspective, scrutinizing the regional General Secretaries of the sub-continent is particularly useful to understand how regional powers emerge. With a specific focus on the Southern Common Market (UNSUR), the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR), the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) and the Central American Integration System (SICA), this research offers a more precise answer to the question of the configuration of power within Latin American regionalisms.

Charlotte Thomas

Armed combatant and leader of the Hizbul Mujahideen Burhan Wani was killed by the Indian Army in July 2016. This killing triggered a new phase of insurgency in Kashmir. In the Valley, the local populace started mobilizing against the Indian State in the name of azadi, (freedom). In such volatile context, the production of the national sentiment of the Kashmiris is documented from a distanciated perspective. Frontiers of the national group are explored from New Delhi, as well as the logics of differentiation and otherification of the Kashmiri group towards the Indian one. Kashmiri nationalism therefore more clearly appears in a negative definition (what a Kashmiri is not) than in a positive definition (what a Kashmiri is). The slight and incremental slip of the meaning of azadi demands is at the heart of Kashmiri nationalism. From an original demand for greater autonomy within the Indian Republic, demands of azadi now refer to the independence of the Valley – yet there are nuances that will be studied. They also convey an utter rejection of “Indianess” whether national or citizen. In that respect, New Delhi’s negating the political aspect of the mobilizations that are taking place in the Kashmir Valley has dramatically fuelled the national sentiment of the Kashmiris. The current insurgency that started in July 2016 has sped up the pace of the process. Despite the escalating tensions in the Valley, New Delhi keeps refusing to consider the political dimension of the local social movements, be they violent or peaceful. That is the reason why, beyond Kashmir and Kashmiris themselves, studying the political demands of the Kashmiri population does shed a light on the functioning of the Indian nation and the Indian state.

Elections have been trivialized in Iran. They allow for the expression of diversity, in particular ethnical and denominational, of historical regional identities, and prove the growing professionalization of political life. Paradoxically, such professionalization withdraws the Republic away into the levels of family, parenthood, autochthony, and even neighborhoods or devotional sociability, which are all institutions that instill a feeling of proximity, solidarity, communion; close to the notion of asabiyat. As the saying goes, the Islamic Republic has become a « parentocracy » (tâyefehsâlâri). The country’s industrial development isn’t at odds with such ponderousness since it lies on a web of very small family businesses. The analysis of the 2016 legislative elections in four wards reveals how important the issue of property is in political life, indivisible as it is of the various particularistic consciences. The connections with notables are still there, revealing lines of continuity with the old regime as well as longstanding agrarian conflicts that have not been erased by the Revolution and that are being kept alive through contemporary elections.

Leila Seurat

Yet there is ample literature devoted to the sociology of the police in the western world, little research focuses on Arab countries. This study tries to fill this gap by offering an ethnographic study of Ras Beirut police station, the first and the only police station in Lebanon that has been reformed according to the community policing model. The academic works focusing on the importation of this model in developing countries point out how difficult it is to implement and emphasize its negative outcomes due to the local characteristics of each country. Fragmented on a sectarian and a political ground, Lebanon remains a perfect field to explore this hypothesis. Indeed the divisions of the Lebanese state weaken the interactions between the public and the private security forces. Nevertheless, many others factors, beyond the religious and the political divisions, explain Ras Beirut’s failure. The internal dynamics at work inside the police station and the influence of the patronage networks reduce considerably the chances of its success.

avec la collaboration de Madhi Mehraeen et Ibrahim Tavalla

War since 1979 and the reconstruction of the state under Western tutelage since 2001 have led to a simplification of the identity of Afghan society, through an invention of ethnicity and tradition – a process behind which the control or the ownership of the political and economic resources of the country are at stake. Hazarajat is a remarkable observation site of this process. Its forced integration into the nascent Afghan state during the late nineteenth century has left a mark on its history. The people of Hazara, mainly Shi’ite, has been relegated to a subordinate position from which it got out of progressively, only by means of jihad against the Soviet occupation in the 1980s and the US intervention in 2001, at the ost of an ethnicization of its social and political consciousness. Ethnicity, however, is based on a less communitarian than unequal moral and political economy. Post-war aid to state-building has polarized social relations, while strengthening their ethnicization: donors and NGOs remain prisoners of a cultural, if not orientalist approach to the country that they thereby contribute to “traditionalize”, while development aid destabilizes the “traditional” society by accelerating its monetization and commodification.

Dilek Yankaya

Müsiad International Fair held in Istanbul in 2014 aroused great public interest due to the strong presence of political elites as well as to the mobilization of a large network of institutions, firms and media partners. International exhibitions are relevant fields to explore the formation of trade circuits and the creation of sociabilities, as well as to question the political and international issues central to the construction of trade networks and markets. This event appears as the representation of the Turkish state as it is formed under the AKP power. We witness a double trend of reconfiguration and of internationalization of the state constituting processes through the phenomena of increased interactions between private enterprise and public action on one side and the shrinkage of patronage networks on the other. Participating to this event therefore becomes a question of legitimization and delegitimization for private actors regarding these networks of power, the production of which is based on the presentation of economic and industrial productions and goes together with the creation of Imaginaries. The ethnographic study of the fair shows how industrial, cultural and symbolic representations bring about the production of two types of Imaginary, one related to the reinvention of the idea of the ummah across merchant networks and the other referring to the supremacy of Turkey as the carrier of this project.

The Justice and Development Party (JDP) has been in power in Turkey since 2002, consolidating its electoral support among an array of social groups ranging from broad appeal among the popular classes to business leaders and a growing middle class. The success of the JDP is a consequence of the manner in which the party inserted itself into certain economic and social sectors. While the party has internalized the principles of reducing the public sphere and outsourcing to the private sector, it has not restricted the reach of government intervention. On the contrary, it has become increasingly involved in certain sectors, including social policy and housing. It has managed this through an indirect approach that relies on intermediaries and private allies such as the businesses and associations that is has encouraged. In this way, the JDP has developed and systematized modes of redistribution that involve the participation of conservative businessmen who benefit from their proximity to the decision-makers, charitable organizations, and underprivileged social groups. These public policies have reconfigured different social sectors in a way that has strengthened the Party’s influence.

Youth delinquency has been a hot topic in Russian society for many years. Numerous associations, NGOs and international organizations have raised public awareness of the problem and have encouraged the government to place judicial reform on its agenda. However, debate over how to apply it, the various possible models and how to structure the relationship between social and judicial institutions has been limited. Discussion has instead focused on the relative priorities to be given to the interests of children versus those of the family, so-called “traditional” versus “liberal” values, and the extent to which the State should interfere in the private lives of Russian citizens. Discussion of the actual situation of children at risk and the concrete problems posed by reform have been overshadowed by rumors, encouraged by a discourse of fear in an increasingly violent society that tend to distort the real problems. Additionally, implementation of international norms and judicial reform has been largely blocked by the patriotic agenda of the State.

Françoise Daucé

Many online newspapers were created in Russia during the early 2000s, which gave rise to hopes concerning further developments of media pluralism. Their day-to-day operations differ little from those of their Western counterparts. They are subject to the same technical possibilities and to the same financial limitations. Under the increasingly authoritarian Russian regime, however, these common constraints can become political. Economic constraints on editorial boards, limitations on their sources of advertising revenue, administrative requirements, and surveillance of Internet providers are all tools used for political purposes. This article uses the examples of the major news sites that are lenta.ru and gazeta.ru, and the more specialized sites, snob.ru and grani.ru, to show how this political control is based on the diversity of ordinary constraints, which procedures and justifications are both unpredictable and dependent on the economic situation. The result is that political control is both omnipresent and elusive, constantly changing.

With a population exceeding twenty million, Karachi is already one of the largest cities in the world. It could even become the world’s largest city by 2030. Karachi is also the most violent of these megacities. Since the mid-1980s, it has endured endemic political conflict and criminal violence, which revolve around control of the city and its resources. These struggles for the city have become ethnicised. Karachi, often referred to as a “Pakistan in miniature”, has become increasingly fragmented, socially as well as territorially. Notwithstanding this chronic state of urban political warfare, Karachi is the cornerstone of the economy of Pakistan. Despite what journalistic accounts describing the city as chaotic and anarchic tend to suggest, there is indeed order of a kind in the city’s permanent civil war. Far from being entropic, Karachi’s polity is predicated upon relatively stable patterns of domination, rituals of interaction and forms of arbitration, which have made violence “manageable” for its populations – even if this does not exclude a chronic state of fear, which results from the continuous transformation of violence in the course of its updating. Whether such “ordered disorder” is viable in the long term remains to be seen, but for now Karachi works despite—and sometimes through—violence.

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