ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

Security Laws and (De)legitimation Practices in Central and Eastern India


Ripamonti Denise - Dublin City University, Institute for International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction, School of Law and Government, Dublin, Ireland


42 – Changing Contours of Legitimacy and Governance in India


 This paper intends to explore the (de)legitimation processes of both political action and actors embedded in the formulation and use of security and criminal legislation in the Fifth Schedule areas of Central and Eastern India, where spaces of citizen participation have long been shaped by the interactions of Adivasi socio-political mobilisations with protracted armed conflict and enduring practices of security and law enforcement.

By foregrounding legitimacy and legitimation processes as key analytical concepts to observe the dynamics that structure the unfolding of state-society relations in the context of socio-political struggles, the paper investigates special laws as discursive instruments of (de)legitimation. More specifically, legal measures of security politics are here analysed as tools of Self/Other representation through which the state mobilises systems of norms and values to assert its authority and consolidate meanings of social “order”, political il/legitimacy, and citizenship. 

Through a discourse analysis of legal texts, legislative debates, and court judgments related to key security and penal laws, the paper examines the discursive strategies of (de)legitimation produced by security law-making. With a focus on laws enforced in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, the analysis maps the dominant narratives and discursive boundaries of inclusion/exclusion that define and regulate the limits of political participation of Adivasi communities in these areas.