Ruling the Margins: Colonial Power and Administrative Rule in the Past and Present, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Ruling the Margins

Colonial Power and Administrative Rule in the Past and Present, 1st Edition

By Prem Kumar Rajaram


162 pages

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Administrative rule is a type of rule centered on devising and implementing regulations governing how we live and how we conduct ourselves economically and politically, and sometimes culturally. The principle feature of this type of rule is the important question about how things should be arranged and for what purpose becomes a bureaucratic matter.

Histories of the global south are rarely used to explain contemporary political structures or phenomena. This book uses histories of colonial power and colonial state-making to shed light on administrative government as a form of rule. Prem Kumar Rajaram eloquently presents how administrative power is a social process and the authority and terms of rule derived are tenuous, dependent on producing unitary meaning and direction to diverse political, social and economic relationships and practices.


"It is common place these days to bemoan the depoliticization of governance in the West especially with regards to the neoliberal focus on "administration". Prem Kumar Rajaram resituates the genealogies of administrative government in the colonial world and in so doing sheds new light on its contemporary global manifestations. This book will be a challenging and rewarding read for all scholars presently concerned with the fate of the political."Dr. Robbie Shilliam, Queen Mary University of London, UK

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Ruling the Margins 2. Class and the Colonial City: The Production and Administration of Kuala Lumpur 3. Of Law and Land: Producing Peasants and Landlords in Bengal 4. Representing the Margins: Colonial Art and Photographs in the Service of Depoliticisation 5. Mapping Iraq: Publics, Experts, Politics 6. "The State Needs to Protect Itself": Acts of Citizenship by Asylum-seekers in Hungary 7. Spaces of Hope: Rethinking the Purposes of Citizenship

About the Author

Prem Kumar Rajaram is Associate Professor of Sociology and Social Anthropology at the Central European University, Hungary. In his research, Prem Kumar Rajaram is particularly interested in questions of marginality and depoliticisation. His research has focused on the government of asylum-seekers, particularly those in detention in Europe and Australia, and on colonial histories of state making. He is particularly interested in the limits of politics, looking at individuals and groups excluded from political participation and seeing what their exclusion says about the nature of the political.

About the Series


The Series provides a forum for innovative and interdisciplinary work that engages with alternative critical, post-structural, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic and cultural approaches to international relations and global politics. In our first 5 years we have published 60 volumes.

We aim to advance understanding of the key areas in which scholars working within broad critical post-structural traditions have chosen to make their interventions, and to present innovative analyses of important topics. Titles in the series engage with critical thinkers in philosophy, sociology, politics and other disciplines and provide situated historical, empirical and textual studies in international politics.


We are very happy to discuss your ideas at any stage of the project: just contact us for advice or proposal guidelines. Proposals should be submitted directly to the Series Editors:

‘As Michel Foucault has famously stated, "knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting" In this spirit The Edkins - Vaughan-Williams Interventions series solicits cutting edge, critical works that challenge mainstream understandings in international relations. It is the best place to contribute post disciplinary works that think rather than merely recognize and affirm the world recycled in IR's traditional geopolitical imaginary.’

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Colonialism & Post-Colonialism