The Party-Police Nexus in Bangladesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (SciVal)


The use of coercion to pursue dominance over rivals is often seen as a defining feature of more ‘authoritarian’ and ‘hybrid’ political systems. In many contexts however, it is also a routine part of democracy. The difference between these arrangements then lies not so much in the presence of violence and coercion per se, but in how precisely they are organised institutionally and deployed. This is examined here through the case of Bangladesh, where, despite decades of intense and violent political competition, the ruling Awami League has solidified control through three consecutive landslide victories in general elections. Central to how this has been achieved is the empowerment of domestic security agencies, which can be seen as existing in a ‘nexus’ with the party, configured at both the national and local levels. The police in particular have been prioritised, politicised, and directed against the opposition under cover of maintaining law and order. It is then the depth of these inter-dependencies which marks Bangladesh’s recent politics. This has intensified the political entrepreneurialism of the police, and raises questions concerning the balance of power within this nexus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1516-1530
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Development Studies
Issue number8
Early online date5 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre (ESID), University of Manchester, funded by the FCDO. For the first author this work was also supported by the Economic and Social Research Council under Grant ES/S011617/1. We would like to thank two anonymous reviewers and the editors at Journal of Development Studies for their guidance and insight.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Bangladesh
  • Governance
  • coercion
  • police
  • political parties
  • security agencies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development


Dive into the research topics of 'The Party-Police Nexus in Bangladesh'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this