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Wednesday 22 February 
Alliance française - 6:30 pm
Social Science

Sovereign citizens: How Karachi’s residents participate
in restoring the writ of the state.

Wednesday 22 February – 6:30 pm – Conference Hall

Karachi’s residents are often construed as mere victims or bystanders of the city’s conflicts, caught up in the midst of the violent politics of various armed actors. Although this portrayal has some basis in reality, many of Karachi’s citizens have also been actively engaged in trying to make the city safer for its residents. In the face of the multiple, always contested sovereign constituencies that have emerged over the years in the city, these citizens have mobilized to reassert the sovereignty of the state, as well as to reassert their sovereign authority over state decisions.

On the basis of fieldwork carried out in Karachi, the presentation will review different initiatives put forward by some of Karachi’s residents to improve the maintenance of law and order in the city, outlining in particular the various ways in which citizens have interacted with law enforcement agencies to enhance the capacity of the state, the hurdles they have had to face and the extent to which their efforts have been successful.

Sophie Russo holds a Bachelor in Political Science from New York University and is currently completing a Masters in Political Sociology from Sciences Po, Paris.

She has an interest in the study of violent conflicts and the maintenance of law and order in South Asia.

She is currently conducting a research project on citizen participation in the maintenance of law and order in Karachi.