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Class, power, and patronage: the landed elite and politics in Pakistani Punjab

Javid, Hassan (2012) Class, power, and patronage: the landed elite and politics in Pakistani Punjab. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Following their conquest of Punjab, the British erected an administrative apparatus that relied heavily upon the support of the province’s powerful landed elite. The relationship between the two was one of mutual benefit, with the British using their landed allies to ensure the maintenance of order and effective economic accumulation in exchange for state patronage. Over a century and a half later, the politics of Pakistani Punjab continues to be dominated by landowning politicians, despite significant societal changes that could have potentially eroded their power. In order to answer the question of why this is so, this thesis uses a historical institutionalist approach to argue that the administrative framework emerging out of the initial bargain between the colonial state and the landed classes gave rise to a path-dependent process of institutional development in Punjab that allowed the latter to increasingly entrench themselves within the political order during the colonial and post-colonial periods. In doing so, the landed elite were also able to reinforce their bargain with the colonial state and, after independence, the Pakistani military establishment, perpetuating a relationship that facilitated the pursuit of the interests of the actors involved. In order to account for this path-dependent process of institutional development, this thesis treats the initial period of colonial rule in Punjab as a ‘critical juncture’, tracing the factors that led the British to rely on the landed elite for support, and enter into the bargain between the two actors that drove subsequent institutional developments. The thesis then explores the mechanisms used to perpetuate this arrangement over time, focusing in particular on the use, by the state and the landed elite, of legislative interventions, bureaucratic power, and electoral politics, to reinforce and reproduce the institutional framework of politics in Punjab. Finally, the thesis also looks at points in time during which this dominant institutional path has been challenged, albeit unsuccessfully, with a view towards understanding both the circumstances under which such challenges can emerge, and the lessons that can be learnt from these episodes with regards to the prospects for the creation of a democratic and participatory politics in the province.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Hassan Javid
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > Sociology
Supervisor: Archer, Robin

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