Cover: A Social Theory of Corruption: Notes from the Indian Subcontinent, from Harvard University PressCover: A Social Theory of Corruption in HARDCOVER

A Social Theory of Corruption

Notes from the Indian Subcontinent

Add to Cart

Product Details

HARDCOVER

$45.00 • £36.95 • €40.50

ISBN 9780674241275

Publication Date: 12/01/2020

Text

384 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

1 table

World

A social theory of grand corruption from antiquity to the twenty-first century.

In contemporary policy discourse, the notion of corruption is highly constricted, understood just as the pursuit of private gain while fulfilling a public duty. Its paradigmatic manifestations are bribery and extortion, placing the onus on individuals, typically bureaucrats. Sudhir Chella Rajan argues that this understanding ignores the true depths of corruption, which is properly seen as a foundation of social structures. Not just bribes but also caste, gender relations, and the reproduction of class are forms of corruption.

Using South Asia as a case study, Rajan argues that syndromes of corruption can be identified by paying attention to social orders and the elites they support. From the breakup of the Harappan civilization in the second millennium BCE to the anticolonial movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, elites and their descendants made off with substantial material and symbolic gains for hundreds of years before their schemes unraveled.

Rajan makes clear that this grander form of corruption is not limited to India or the annals of global history. Societal corruption is endemic, as tax cheats and complicit bankers squirrel away public money in offshore accounts, corporate titans buy political influence, and the rich ensure that their children live lavishly no matter how little they contribute. These elites use their privileged access to power to fix the rules of the game—legal structures and social norms—benefiting themselves, even while most ordinary people remain faithful to the rubrics of everyday life.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: Failure to Disrupt: Why Technology Alone Can’t Transform Education, by Justin Reich, from Harvard University Press

Publishing (and Promoting) a Book during a Pandemic

This year challenged the way people do many things. For Justin Reich that meant rethinking how to promote his new book, Failure to Disrupt: Why Technology Alone Can’t Transform Education, published in September. With bookstore tours and readings out of the question, Reich came up with an idea to get the word out about his book. On March 24, I submitted the final copyedits for my new book