Juhi Tyagi

Thematic Module 4: Normative Conflicts and Transformation

juhi tyagi

Non-violence in violent movements: Impact on state governance

This project aims to understand the impact of insurgent movements on local governance and normative changes on the ground. A narrow preoccupation with patterns of violence of insurgent groups, which ignore the more prevalent non-violent activity, has resulted in an absence of questions regarding the wider impacts of such groups. Taking into account all insurgent activity, the core research question is if armed movements have an impact on improving, modifying and designing state political and governance processes.

My research builds on three years of data collection and analysis with the Maoist movement in India and utilises its findings to measure the impact of armed groups on local governance. Using a robust index of movement sustenance, which includes all types of movement activity, and adding variables reflective of governance, I investigate the impact of insurgent strength on state governance in the districts of India.

Findings from my previous research show non-violent organising—resulting in class formation— to best predict movement resilience of armed groups. Although state and political economy variables predispose certain districts to an armed rebellion, collective action organisational structures built by insurgents in the villages determine their sustenance in a locale. The Maoists were able to enjoy persistent and stronger presence in villages where they focused and succeeded in creating organisational structures outside of formal party structures that could most effectively lead to class formation and build class-consciousness, within each village. Hence, using a dataset on different types of Maoist activity and the underlying organisational capacities of the armed groups (reflected in each activity), for the years 2000 to 2012, I measure the impact of armed insurgent strength and sustenance in a district on state governance and provisions.

Through investigating changes in state political processes directed by insurgent group activity in the past decade, this research increases not only our understanding of armed groups, but also of what constitutes effective-democratic governance.

Juhi Tyagi holds a Masters in Development Studies from the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague and a PhD in Sociology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She has worked in the field of conflict and development in villages of Bihar and Kashmir before pursuing her PhD on the question of resilience in armed people’s movements. Her research interests include social movements, insurgency, complex organisations, gender and development. She has published is several peer reviewed journals such as Mobilization, The Sociological Quarterly and Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations.

Outline of research