The paper examines the role played by traditional village organisations in the state of Karnataka (South India), which the author refers to as informal local governance institutions (ILGIs). Although often perceived as oppressive, the paper suggests that ILGIs also have progressive features, and perform a range of useful collective functions at village level. Rather than shrinking in the face of modernity, ILGIs have found ways to interact, often constructively, with the newer formal, elected local governance institutions - the Grama Panchayats. The paper explores the nature of this interaction, and considers the particular history of ILGIs in India which helps to explain why they remain active and retain legitimacy in spite of having no formal legal status.
This is a two-page summary of a paper which can be accessed in full on this page.
Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies, 2 pp.