Enabling Development: A Housing Scheme in Rural Pakistan
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This thesis explores the development of a housing scheme in rural Pakistan. In the so-called ‘backward’ district of Bhakkar, five entrepreneurs formed a partnership in 2004 to build the area’s first privately developed housing scheme. As housing schemes are associated with development in Pakistan, they saw themselves as providing services that the state was expected, but failed, to deliver. Departing from normative conceptions of the state, this case study demonstrates how state power functions in Pakistan. Though it is an entrepreneurial venture, the construction of the housing scheme is structured by a discourse of national development. Further, the project was made possible through the state’s integration of Bhakkar into global economic circuits. I argue that the Pakistani state’s power in this instance does not obtain from its felt presence in Bhakkar but rather from its assurance of access to various physical and digital networks through which it is reconfigured.