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Critique Essay History Humanities Law/Legal Nonfiction Social Sciences Theory

Overcoming resistance to resistance in public administration: Resistance strategies of marginalized publics in citizen-state interactions

By Muhammad Azfar Nisar, 2018

There has been a general resistance to resistance studies in public administration (PA) research. Although previous research has documented instances of selective policy implementation by PA practitioners that put minority groups at a comparative disadvantage, we still have a limited understanding of the different ways in which these groups contest discriminatory administrative practices especially within non-western developing countries. To address this gap, in this article, I discuss the various strategic responses the Khawaja Sira—a genderqueer group of Pakistan—employ in their interactions with the frontline police workers to contest their hyper-surveillance and moral policing. The discussion illustrates that while Khawaja Sira mostly rely on individual acts of contestation in their interactions with police officers, the emerging leadership of the Khawaja Sira is enabling emergence of new forms of resistance based on social capital and collective protests. In addition to contributing to the limited literature on citizen perspectives and LGBT issues in PA research, the theoretical framework of resistance presented here can serve as a good template to analyze citizen responses to discriminatory frontline practice in other sociopolitical contexts as well.

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