Date of Degree

2-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Political Science

Advisor(s)

Vincent Boudreau

Subject Categories

Political Science

Keywords

Bangladesh, Institutions, NGO, Organizations, Political participation, South Asia

Abstract

Bangladesh's governments have pursued an aid-based neoliberal development agenda since the 1980s, which has allowed new resources and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to permeate rural society. These NGOs operate programs through resource groups, small groups of impoverished women who gather at the village or ward levels. This dissertation argues that resource groups have built new citizen-state relationships and enabled new forms of engagement between citizens and their governments. These new transactional relationships are governed simultaneously by informal institutions of accountability and informal institutions of exchange; the former allow actors to reinforce formal rules when badly-performing institutions deviate from them, and the latter permit actors to navigate weak formal institutions through illegal exchanges. Findings illustrate that transactional relationships are replacing patronage relationships with a combination of transaction-driven and programmatic linkages, and allowing poor women to engage with formal institutions in multiple ways - in partisan politics, local government, and informal avenues - that coexist with ongoing urban resistance politics.

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