India’s Maoist insurgency, a conflict in the geographic heartland of the country, is often portrayed as symptomatic of the underdevelopment and weak governance of the region. Rhetorically, the state has pursued a counter-insurgency strategy premised on a tandem of ‘security’ and development, while emphasising the conflict zone’s rootedness in the nation. This discourse ignores that historically the state has treated the region as a hostile ‘borderland’. This paper argues that the Indian state’s counter-insurgency is structured around a set of strategies of absorption. Drawing on James C. Scott’s examination of Zomia, as well as Henri Lefebvre’s theories of the state and space, this paper examines processes of militarised state expansion. Focusing on the construction of roads, government-controlled resettlement camps, forward operating bases and militarised schools, this paper conceptualises these particular state spaces as ‘architectures of force’: material manifestations of a larger project of highly militarised and acutely violent state-building.

Additional Metadata
Keywords counter-insurgency, India, Insurgency, Maoists, Naxalites
Persistent URL
Journal Conflict, Security and Development
Spacek, M. (Michael). (2017). Internal borderlands: architectures of force and state expansion in India’s central ‘frontier’. Conflict, Security and Development, 1–20. doi:10.1080/14678802.2017.1292682