Nayanika Mathur

Apr 8, 2016

Paper Tiger

Law, Bureaucracy and the Developmental State in Himalayan India

Cambridge University Press 2015

purchase at bookshop.org

A village terrorized by a man eating tiger and a state struggling to implement possibly the largest social security program in the world coalesce in this wonderful ethnography of bureaucracy by Nayanika Mathur. Paper Tiger: Law, Bureaucracy and the Developmental State in Himalayan India (Cambridge University Press, 2015) is a detailed account of paper that reveals the unintended consequences of reforms, the problems with implementing new programs and the inability of state officials to act when faced with crises. Rich, lively, and theoretically compelling Paper Tiger pushes us to rethink how the state operates in India and beyond.


Ian M. Cook is a social anthropologist whose research focuses on small cities, rhythms and everyday life in south India. His publications can be accessed at ceu.academia.edu/IanCook. He can be reached at ianmickcook@gmail.com.

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