09 Feb New research blog on informal politics in Asia and beyond
‘Informal Politics Is Real Politics; A Research Blog on the Machinations of Power in Asia and beyond’. By Ward Berenschot. How do governments actually work? Informal politics – the ways in which people draw on personal relations to obtain power and privilege – is an intrinsic part of how governments are run, of how people capture power and how they get things done. Yet while informal politics runs so much of the show, formal politics – the more visible sphere of debates in parliament, political parties and campaign speeches, of ngo’s and demonstrations– gets most of the headlines. Journalists risk more than missing a deadline if they would delve into the actual machinations of government.
That motivated me to start this blog. This blog looks at how power really works. As a researcher at KITLV, much of my research involves following the protagonists of informal politics – not just politicians, but also brokers, neighbourhood leaders, criminal types, bureaucrats, fixers, youth gangs, religious leaders, etc. This blog is a scrapbook for all those stories and experiences in, particularly, India and Indonesia. There will also be posts that contain musings on the theories and terminology that might serve to capture informal politics. Some posts concern comparisons as countries and regions differ in the way and the extent to which politics is informal. There will also be posts that contain musings on the theories and terminology that might serve to capture informal politics. Some posts concern comparisons and the difficult methodological questions about how to compare the nature of informal politics in different countries and regions. All post relate to the need to study informal politics and its impact.