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Violent Intermediaries and Political Order in Bangladesh

  • David Jackman
Original Article
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Abstract

The need for intermediaries to access resources, seek opportunities and mitigate risks has been observed in societies across the world. In poor people’s lives such actors are often violent, however why this is the case remains under examined. This article offers a response to this question from Bangladesh based on an understanding of political order. When violence is not consolidated by a central state, political order stems from balancing the interests of diverse violence specialists dispersed throughout society. In such contexts mediating access to resources can be a means by which these actors accrue power and wealth, helping explain the link between intermediation and violence. This argument is developed through an ethnographic case of labourers in a large bazar at the centre of Dhaka city. The case illuminates the dynamics of political factionalism and violent mobilization within a fractious period in Bangladesh’s recent history.

Keywords

Violence State Intermediation Brokerage Labour Politics Bangladesh 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (Grant Numbers ES/J50015X/1 and ES/P500653/1). I would like to thank Joe Devine, Geof Wood, Mathilde Maitrot and Sam Hickey for reviewing earlier drafts of this article, as well as the guidance of anonymous reviewers.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interests

The author confirms that there is no conflict of interest

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© European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) 2018

Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Development StudiesSchool of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)LondonUK

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