Why services won’t always buy legitimacy: Everyday experiences of the state in Swat, Pakistan
McCullough, Aoife; Toru, Shehryar; Syed, Rubab; Ahmed, Shujaat | July 2019
In 2017, the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) published a set of unexpected findings. Between 2012 and 2015, services improved in Swat and Lower Dir districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, but this improvement in services did not change people’s opinion of the government. The findings were based on a longitudinal survey that was carried out in 2012 and 2015. Among other questions, respondents were asked about their access to basic services such as health education and health, their satisfaction with those services and their perceptions of government. These findings raised questions about key assumptions informing international development programmes in post conflict contexts, namely that if people’s satisfaction with services improved, this would repair state/society relations and strengthen state legitimacy. The survey asked people about their perception of government, not about their perception of state legitimacy. While the authors argued that perceptions of government were a stepping stone to understanding perceptions of state legitimacy (Nixon and Mallett, 2017), measuring perceptions of government is only one slice of the overall perception of state. It is quite possible for citizens to consider a particular government illegitimate while believing that the state is legitimate. This present research seeks to examine experiences of the state more broadly. Using qualitative research, we explored whether there is a role for services to play in the construction of state legitimacy in Swat, Pakistan.
CitationMcCullough, Aoife; Toru, Shehryar; Syed, Rubab; Ahmed, Shujaat. 2019. Why services won’t always buy legitimacy: Everyday experiences of the state in Swat, Pakistan. © Sustainable Development Policy Institute. http://hdl.handle.net/11540/10598.
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