• View author and book videos on our YouTube channel.

  • Cloth: $109.95 - In Stock
  • Paperback: $29.95 - In Stock
  • Quantity
  • Add To Bag
  • Preface

    Introduction: States of Imagination / Thomas Blom Hansen and Finn Stepputat

    I. State and Governance

    “Demonic Societies”: Liberalism, Biopolitics, and Sovereignty / Mitchell Dean

    Governing Population: The Integrated Child Development Services Program in India / Akhil Gupta

    The Battlefield and the Prize: ANC’s Bid to Reform the South African State / Steffen Jensen

    Imagining the State as a Space: Territoriality and the Formation of the State in Ecuador / Sarah A. Radcliffe

    II. State and Justice

    The South African Truth and Reconcilliation Commission: A Technique of Nation-State Formation / Lars Buur

    Reconstructing National Identity and Renegotiating Memory: The Work of the TRC / Aletta J. Norval

    Rethinking Citizenship: Reforming the Law in Postwar Guatemala / Rachel Sieder

    Governance and State Mythologies in Mumbai / Thomas Blom Hansen

    III. State and Community

    Before History and Prior to Politics: Time, Space, and Territory in the Modern Peruvian Nation-State / David Nugent

    Urbanizing the Countryside: Armed Conflict, State Formation, and the Politics of Place in Contemporary Guatemala / Finn Stepputat

    In the Name of the State? Schools and Teachers in an Andean Province / Fiona Wilson

    The Captive State: Corruption, Intelligence Agencies, and Ethnicity in Pakistan / Oskar Verkaaik

    Public Secrets, Conscious Amnesia, and the Celebration of Autonomy for Ladakh / Martijn van Beek


    About the Contributors

  • Thomas Blom Hansen

    Mitchell Dean

    Akhil Gupta

    Steffen Jensen

    Sarah A. Radcliffe

    Lars Buur

    Aletta J. Norval

    Rachel Sieder

    David Nugent

    Fiona Wilson

    Oskar Verkaaik

    Martijn van Beek

    Finn Stepputat

  • “This outstanding volume contains an excellent introductory discussion of current trends of thinking and research on the state. The first-rate articles by a mix of well- and less-known scholars are sophisticated, nuanced, and accessible.”—George Marcus, author of Ethnography Through Thick and Thin — N/A

    “With its wealth of empirical description coming from all parts of the postcolonial world, this book is an immensely valuable contribution to the new ethnography of the state. Hansen and Stepputat have put together a richly varied but carefully organized and theoretically productive set of studies.”—Partha Chatterjee, Columbia University — N/A

  • Permission to Photocopy (coursepacks)

    If you are requesting permission to photocopy material for classroom use, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center at copyright.com;

    If the Copyright Clearance Center cannot grant permission, you may request permission from our Copyrights & Permissions Manager (use Contact Information listed below).

    Permission to Reprint

    If you are requesting permission to reprint DUP material (journal or book selection) in another book or in any other format, contact our Copyrights & Permissions Manager (use Contact Information listed below).


    Many images/art used in material copyrighted by Duke University Press are controlled, not by the Press, but by the owner of the image. Please check the credit line adjacent to the illustration, as well as the front and back matter of the book for a list of credits. You must obtain permission directly from the owner of the image. Occasionally, Duke University Press controls the rights to maps or other drawings. Please direct permission requests for these images to permissions@dukeupress.edu.
    For book covers to accompany reviews, please contact the publicity department.

    Subsidiary Rights/Foreign Translations

    If you're interested in a Duke University Press book for subsidiary rights/translations, please contact permissions@dukeupress.edu. Include the book title/author, rights sought, and estimated print run.

    Disability Requests

    Instructions for requesting an electronic text on behalf of a student with disabilities are available here.

    Rights & Permissions Contact Information

    Email: permissions@dukeupress.edu
    Email contact for coursepacks: asstpermissions@dukeupress.edu
    Fax: 919-688-4574
    Duke University Press
    Rights and Permissions
    905 W. Main Street
    Suite 18B
    Durham, NC 27701

    For all requests please include:
    1. Author's name. If book has an editor that is different from the article author, include editor's name also.
    2. Title of the journal article or book chapter and title of journal or title of book
    3. Page numbers (if excerpting, provide specifics)
    For coursepacks, please also note: The number of copies requested, the school and professor requesting
    For reprints and subsidiary rights, please also note: Your volume title, publication date, publisher, print run, page count, rights sought
  • Description

    The state has recently been rediscovered as an object of inquiry by a broad range of scholars. Reflecting the new vitality of the field of political anthropology, States of Imagination draws together the best of this recent critical thinking to explore the postcolonial state. Contributors focus on a variety of locations from Guatemala, Pakistan, and Peru to India and Ecuador; they study what the state looks like to those seeing it from the vantage points of rural schools, police departments, small villages, and the inside of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
    Focusing on the micropolitics of everyday state-making, the contributors examine the mythologies, paradoxes, and inconsistencies of the state through ethnographies of diverse postcolonial practices. They show how the authority of the state is constantly challenged from the local as well as the global and how growing demands to confer rights and recognition to ever more citizens, organizations, and institutions reveal a persistent myth of the state as a source of social order and an embodiment of popular sovereignty. Demonstrating the indispensable value of ethnographic work on the practices and the symbols of the state, States of Imagination showcases a range of studies and methods to provide insight into the diverse forms of the postcolonial state as an arena of both political and cultural struggle.
    This collection will interest students and scholars of anthropology, cultural studies, sociology, political science, and history.

    Contributors. Lars Buur, Mitchell Dean, Akhil Gupta, Thomas Blom Hansen, Steffen Jensen, Aletta J. Norval, David Nugent, Sarah Radcliffe, Rachel Sieder, Finn Stepputat, Martijn van Beek, Oskar Verkaaik, Fiona Wilson

    About The Author(s)

    Thomas Blom Hansen is a Reader in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh.

    Finn Stepputat is Senior Researcher at the Center for Development Research in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Explore More

Create a reading list or add to an existing list. Sign-in or register now to continue.

Contact Us

  • Duke University Press
  • 905 W. Main St. Ste 18-B
  • Durham, NC 27701
  • U.S. phone (toll-free): 888-651-0122
  • International: 1-919-688-5134
  • orders@dukeupress.edu