This collection of essays by 13 well-known contributors departs from a conventional analysis of the state that universalizes and standardizes what the state is, does, and means. The contributors engage state and stateness as it is encountered in everyday life, ranging from village and urbanlife to big dams, war, torture, hospital treatment, cinema attendance, and art exhibitions. The essays locate the state in time, space, and circumstance so that it is contingent and evocative rather than definitive and authoritative. The study discusses formative discourses on the state, what we may think or say about the state, and what images are evoked by its various manifestations through social and cultural forms. This volume begins with a non-essentialist perspective on state formation, and concludes with an account of howthe state is experienced in the post-9/11 world scenario, in India and South Asia, the US, Europe, including the former Soviet Union, and the Far East. The contributors include James C. Scott, Arundhati Roy, Sudipta Kaviraj, Lloyd I. Rudolph, Philip Oldenburg, and Paul R. Brass.