Paper No. 1 (2015) 1-29



Submitted: Jan. 17, 2015
Accepted: Jan. 17, 2015
Posted: Jan. 19, 2015


The discourse on "corruption" and the Indian case

Ulrich Oberdiek, Department of Anthropology, University of Heidelberg, Germany

Abstract: The suitability of ‚conventional' (modernist) versus ‚post'-modernist notions of corruption is discussed, and as a way out of conventional approaches various (anthropological and multi-disciplinary) foci on the body, originating from several theoretical directions, are considered. Questions of legitimacy (licitness and illicitness), of the hierarchy of social/ cultural orders are also discussed. It is argued that the anthropological study of corruption should nclude theoretical questions such as reciprocity or theories of exchange, the logic of the state and of corrupt actors (dimensions of power), and the humanistic dimension of suffering: who suffers (victims) and who profits. The case of India is discussed in chronological-cultural depth and current trends, again pointing to a future approach focusing on the suffering of the people.

Keywords: corruption (India), discourse on corruption, suffering and corruption, state and corruption, organized crime, culture and corruption, body and corruption, Mont Pèlerin Society, neoliberalism, legitimacy, hierarchy of orders, failed states, globalization and corruption, clientelism, Big man rule, modernity and corruption, liberalization, Bofors scandal, elites and corruption, reciprocity.

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