This issue of the Cambridge Journal of Anthropology is the first under my tenure as the new editor. The journal began life in 1973 under the title Cambridge Anthropology. The first issue aimed to provide a forum for University of Cambridge ‘undergraduates, research students and staff in which ideas and different theoretical approaches can be developed’ (Cambridge Anthropology 1973: ii). I inherit the journal forty-five years later, during which time the scope of the journal has expanded.
What Do We Do and Where Are We Going?
Decolonizing the Curriculum
Despite sustained critical attention to the politics of knowledge, contemporary anthropology disproportionately engages with ideas produced by academics based in European and North American universities. The ‘decolonizing the curriculum’ movement speaks to core areas of anthropological interest while making a critical comment on the academic structures in which anthropologists produce their work. The articles in this collection interrogate the terms on which academic work engages with its own history, and ask how the production of knowledge relates to structures of race, gender and location. The collection considers the historical, political and institutional context of the ‘decolonizing the curriculum’ movement, the potential impact that the movement might make on education and research, and the major challenges facing it.
This special issue of the Cambridge Journal of Anthropology is entitled ‘Experiencing Anticipation’, guest edited by Devin Flaherty and Christopher Stephan. The collection proceeds from an assumption that although contemporary anthropology is enriched by many studies of temporality, hope and the future, the discipline lacks a sufficient engagement with the difficult object of ‘anticipation’.
Crime, Corruption and Entrepreneurship in an Indian Company Town
In the Tata company town of Jamshedpur, incisive popular discourses of corruption posit a mutually beneficial relationship between ‘legitimate’ institutions and organised criminality, a dynamic believed to enable pervasive transformations in the city’s industrial and financial infrastructures. This article situates this local discourse within the wider body of anthropological work on South Asian corruption, noting a discursive departure from the hegemonic, personalised and essentially provincialising corruption models encountered by many researchers. The article interrogates the popular model of crime and corruption in Jamshedpur through a focus upon the business practices of local violent entrepreneurs, exploring the extent to which their negotiations with corrupt institutions and ‘legitimate’ capital may indeed inform their successes. Drawing analytic cues from material on organised crime in the former USSR, this article identifies a mutually beneficial relationship between political influence, violence and industrial capital in an Indian company town.