University of Oulu

Ferdoush, M.A. (2021), Sovereign Atonement: (Non)citizenship, Territory, and State-Making in Post-Colonial South Asia. Antipode, 53: 546-566.

Sovereign atonement : (non)citizenship, territory, and state-making in post-colonial South Asia

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Author: Ferdoush, Md Azmeary1
Organizations: 1Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-10-19


The former border enclaves of Bangladesh and India, which were small pieces of one state entirely surrounded by the other, existed as extraterritorial spaces from 1947 until 2015. Since these spaces were subject to state violence but remained completely excluded from the protections provided by courts, police, and government, they have historically been understood as spaces of exception that contained bare lives. After the exchange of enclaves in 2015, the situation changed dramatically as the state assumed an active role in incorporating new lands and citizens. Such an active role resulted in unique privileges exclusively for the enclave residents understood here as sovereign atonement. Drawing on field research in Bangladesh, however, the paper argues that it would be misleading to capture sovereign atonement as an effort to correct the past violence of extraterritorial exclusion; instead it must be understood through the primacy of territory in state-making in post-colonial South Asia.

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Series: Antipode
ISSN: 0066-4812
ISSN-E: 1467-8330
ISSN-L: 0066-4812
Volume: 53
Issue: 2
Pages: 546 - 566
DOI: 10.1111/anti.12685
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
Funding: This work was supported by East West Center (Field Research Grant), American Association of Geographers (Dissertation Research Grant), University of Hawai’i (Student Travel Grant) and JP Sharma Memorial Scholarship by the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Hawai’i.
Copyright information: © 2020 The Author. Antipode © 2020 Antipode Foundation Ltd. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Ferdoush, M.A. (2021), Sovereign Atonement: (Non)citizenship, Territory, and State-Making in Post-Colonial South Asia. Antipode, 53: 546-566, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.