Seminar on Low-level governance in Dhaka held
BIGD organised a Seminar titled Low-level Governance in Dhaka on 8th December, 2015 at BIGD Conference Room. Mr. David Jackman, a PhD student of the University of Bath, UK delivered a presentation titled Are the “Mastaan” dead? The changing face of low-level governance in Dhaka” from his PhD research findings.
The presentation was based on a year-long ethnography in Dhaka with people often termed “kangali” in Bangla, those living in the open or most basic slums, and perceived as destitute. The study argues that from their perspective, the city has changed radically over the past decade. Whereas before the lowest levels of urban society were run by entrepreneurial gangsters, the “mastaan” or “godfather” as they are known, today it is run by party political leaders. These leaders are understood as categorically distinct from the Mastaan of a previous era. In many ways these party figures have simply replaced the Mastaan, mediating access to work and services, operating extortion networks and illegal businesses. But this politicisation has also brought a stabilisation in the social order.
An open discussion followed by the presentation. Dr. Shanawez Hossain, BIGD Research Fellow moderated the seminar. BIGD researchers and staff attended the event.