Development and Governance in Bangladesh: another view on the paradox?

Photo: Amjad rana / Unsplash

Date: June 21, 2023
Date: June 21, 2023
Time: 10:00
Start date: June 21, 2023
Event summary: Seminar by the School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences at Örebro University.

Summary of the Talk

Recent research analysing Bangladesh’s governance has examined national political dynamics using the lens of an alleged paradox between the country’s development achievements and its record of ‘poor governance’. Here we explore an alternative analysis prompted by the concept of public authority, to examine how the ‘paradox’ is experienced in the everyday lives of rights-bearing citizens. Drawing on primary ethnographic data into extreme poverty, we argue that public authority is shaped by competing moral claims and vested interests, and takes the form of localised, informal and personal networks of patrons. The power of public authority lies in its capacity to construct consensus that legitimizes certain entitlement claims over others, to then distribute them as ‘favours’ rather than ‘rights’. By definition, the extreme poor are weakly positioned to influence public authority, but their life chances reflect the challenges of dealing with the same authority – challenges that are played out on a day to day basis. Our analysis helps reflect not only on the implication of the paradox for social change but also on the challenges for social sciences in understanding and making sense of social change.


Professor Joe Devine, Department of Social and Policy Sciences, University of Bath, UK

Dr. Mathilde Maitrot, Lecturer, Department of Social and Policy Sciences, University of Bath, UK


Lab102, Innovasalen, Labbet Building, Örebro University


10:00-10:15 Fika

10:15-10:30 Introduction

10:30-11:15 Presentation by the Speakers

11:15-12:00 Q & A

12:00-13:00 Lunch


Registration is mandatory for participating in the event. RSVP by 2 June.