Modern democratic governments must ensure the regular reproduction of capital for their survival, an end which as such entails the regulation of labour. While mainstream scholars of the modern Euroamerican world understand the welfare state to be the institutional result of mediating these twin demands, a heterodox strand of scholarship has demonstrated that states depend as much on what we may call racial orders of resource allocation and extraction. Modern states racialize subpopulations primarily through welfare and in the sphere of electoral representation. I present part of a larger work that traces these processes comparatively in Malaysia, India and the United States; today I draw on material from the subnational state of Tamil Nadu, exploring how the management of caste violence and the institution of caste-based welfare took shape as democratic politics expanded.
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