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When does service provision support or undermine state legitimacy? Higher education and processes of state (de-) legitimation in Sri Lanka

McLoughlin, Claire Louise (2017)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This thesis examines the received wisdom in state-building debates that service provision can improve state legitimacy. It presents an in-depth, historical study of the relationship between university education and processes of state (de-)legitimation in Sri Lanka. The analysis focuses on three critical junctures when the social contract around higher education was being made, broken and defended. The major finding is that service provision can matter for state legitimacy, but not in the instrumental sense depicted in state-building models. Service provision needs to satisfy certain shared values and normative criteria in order to be significant for state legitimacy. It can undermine legitimacy when it signals that the state is contravening shared values or acting on the basis of unfair rules and procedures. Services become tied to state legitimacy at critical junctures of crisis and change that are historically reinforcing and institutionalise path dependency in the significance of the service for state legitimacy and the functioning of the service itself. These findings call for an expansion of the remit of empirical enquiry into the services-legitimacy relationship in three senses: from the material to the non-material, from snapshots to longer-term observations, and from politics as background to politics as the locus of explanation.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Marquette, Heather and Batley, Richard A.
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:School of Government and Society, International Development Department
Subjects:JQ Political institutions Asia
LB2300 Higher Education
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:7716
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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