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Capitalism, Violence and The State

Crime, Corruption and Entrepreneurship in an Indian Company Town

Andrew Sanchez

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.

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Dieter Haller

This essay explores what Ethnologie (social and cultural anthropology) can contribute to the study of corruption. It firstly lays bare basic approaches of the study of corruption by conventional political and social sciences and influential political agents such as Transparency International. In these approaches, corruption is shaped by a variety of assumptions: that corruption takes place between the public and a private sphere, that it is an indicator of instability and that it is morally reprehensibly and therefore a clandestine activity. The essay expands on these assumptions from the anthropological point of view, thereby detecting blind spots in the conventional approaches. Finally, by discussing four examples, the essay seeks to show how Ethnologie can enrich other approaches to social scientific corruption research with a genuine contribution.

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Donatella della Porta, Salvatore Sberna and Alberto Vannucci

This chapter examines two episodes of large-scale corruption that erupted in 2014: the procurements process for the MOSE tidal barrier project, which is intended to surround and protect Venice, and the contracts signed in the run-up to Expo 2015 in Milan. The chapter shows how networks of corruption have survived the “clean hands” scandal of the early 1990s and thrive in a world of neo-liberal policies that promote privatization, deregulation, and liberalization. These policies have not led to a reduction in corruption; rather, they have shifted governance structures toward private figures who, in the name of the free market, often end up with better opportunities to corrupt or to be corrupted.

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David Nelken

Italo Pardo, Between morality and the law: Corruption, anthropology and comparative society. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004, pp. 187, ISBN 0-7546-4290-9.

Monique Nuijten and Gerhard Anders, eds., Corruption and the secret of law: A legal anthropological perspective, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2007, pp. 234, ISBN: 978-0-7546-7110-7.

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Seumas Miller

In this paper I will explore the relationship between social norms – in the sense of regularities in action which embody moral attitudes – and corruption, in contexts of transcultural interaction. There is a great deal of theoretical unclarity in relation to all the key notions involved, namely, social norms, corruption and transcultural interaction, and yet theoretical clarity is a necessary precursor to resolving the empirical and policy issues in this area, including empirical and policy issues of great importance for the future of many countries involved in the process of globalisation. Accordingly, in the first section of this paper I will spend some time on theoretical clarification.1 In the last section of the paper I will make some tentative suggestions concerning the connections between social norms and corruption in transcultural interactions, and illustrate these suggestions by use of two well-known transcultural corruption scandals, namely, Bhopal in India, and Lockheed in Japan. The informing idea here is that examination of such major scandals is likely to reveal underlying institutional conditions and processes which are conducive to corruption, but which go largely unnoticed in the normal course of events; it takes a major corruption scandal to bring these underlying conditions and processes to the surface.2

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Dan Hough

This article utilizes a neoinstitutionalist framework to argue that while Germany’s anticorruption infrastructure remains strong, resilient pathdependent tendencies often make it difficult to reform. The article analyzes three specific areas: the state’s attitude to regulating German business, meeting international anticorruption commitments, and doing justice to the rising transparency agenda. High-profile examples of corruption in multinational businesses prompted significant changes to these companies’ compliance regimes. This critical juncture, however, did not prompt reform across much of the Mittelstand. Germany’s preparedness to fulfill international commitments, meanwhile, has been strongly dependent on correspondence with the internal logic of German politics and law. Where this was not so and in the absence of any critical junctures, change has been infrequent. Finally, the rise of an international transparency agenda has not fit with the logics of German public life, and change has been minimal. Thus, despite a strong anticorruption record, German elites would benefit from proactively thinking about where corruption lurks and what could be done.

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La Corruption Politique

un mal français

Éric Dupin

Les deux dernières décennies de la chronique politique française ont été caractérisées, entre autres, par l’éclosion incessante d’« affaires » mettant en cause la probité des dirigeants. Les « scandales » à répétition qui émaillent désormais le débat public en ont profondément affecté la nature. Cet article ne prétend pas proposer une interprétation d’ensemble du phénomène. Il se contente, sur la base des observations de l’auteur, d’avancer quelques pistes de compréhension de cette « corruption » à la française. Nous nous limiterons ici à la sphère proprement politique, même si les « affaires » de ce genre n’épargnent évidemment pas les domaines administratif et économique.

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The road to nowhere?

Poverty and policy in the south of Laos

Holly High

Anthropological understandings of development have often discussed development projects in terms of an extension of the state. Using the example of a participatory poverty reduction project in Laos, this article outlines how development schemes also have the potential to define areas of exception from state services. This project was understood by project officers as an example of a successful “participatory” project. Lao recipients, however, interpreted it in terms of the non-provision of state services, and thus as further evidence of governmental corruption and deceit. These residents—far from resisting the notion of development, or the extension of the state—emphasized largesse and provisioning as the hallmarks of a successful project and a legitimate state. Their forms of “everyday resistance” to the project focused on narratives demanding more incorporation with the state.

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Pierre Lascoumes

Unlike Anglo-Saxon countries, France, along with other Mediterranean democracies (Italy, Spain)1 has waited until the end of the twentieth century to publicly identify the various forms “public misconduct” can take2 and to begin to address them politically. Two convictions mark a breach in the national tradition of impunity for public corruption: that of the treasurer of the Socialist Party, deputy and former minister Henri Emmanuelli, in March 1996 for concealment of trading on his influence (earning him an18-month suspended jail sentence and, more notably, two years of attainder and political ineligibility); and that of the mayor of Grenoble, RPR deputy and minister Alain Carignon, in July 1996 for corruption (earning him four years imprisonment).

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'If I Receive It, It Is a Gift; If I Demand It, Then It Is a Bribe'

On the Local Meaning of Economic Transactions in Post-Soviet Ukraine

Abel Polese

Challenging the main reports of corruption in Ukraine, this article proposes that most of the 'economic transactions' that are reported as bribe taking have a deeper meaning and can be analysed within the framework of gift exchange proposed by Marcel Mauss. This paper thus focuses on the three alleged most 'corrupted' places in Ukraine: a university, a hospital and a police control post, in order to develop a detailed analysis of the meanings behind these transactions. Furthermore, it examines the particular role that social actors take within these arrangements. Finally, I propose the recognition of a grey zone between corruptions as evident in the ethnographic examples analysed in the course of this paper.