State vs. Subjects


There is always much talk of the state’s power over its subjects. In India, does state have absolute power over its subjects? Many would suggest that state is only one institution that subjectifies citizens; one may think of other institutions that have similar power over people. But we also need to look at the ways in which people elude this institutional power. One may be the victim of state violence any time; it is also true however that state in India is often unable to bring everyone under its purview. The million ways through which subjects slip out of state’s power, conduct their activity in defiance of state, is common. This is not to be understood only in terms of anti-state activities. But many mundane life practices give the slip to state and hint at the sovereign status of people. I mean to say, though in modern societies state is a repository of excessive power, and though its monopoly over affecting people’s life is monstrous, we need to also remember how an active attempt is always made to escape subjectification. I think the phenomena of resisting the processes of subjectifications are very important too. Lqack of attention to such processes lead us to view state power as absolute.

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