State, society and bureaucracy in rural India - and the problem of their interaction.
The findings of a research project on the relationship between administrative policy and practice in rural India (West Bengal) are presented. It is suggested that administrative policy formulations basically refer to a normative background saturated with notions ultimately derived from Western historical experience, while practice has to be carried out in a social environment divided into segments and where such notions are fundamentally alien. The topic for investigation is the interrelationship of these two normative spheres in actual practice, that is, in the implementation process and the instances of mediation, negotiation and accommodation that takes place between local bureaucrats and various local actors. This field of negotiation is termed "the third realm", which incorporate what is thought of as "civil society" and the sites of the "public sphere" in Western societies. The aim of such a conceptualization is to further investigate the relationship between state and society in rural India.