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

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$46.00 • £40.95 • €41.95

ISBN 9780674241275

Publication Date: 12/01/2020


384 pages

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

1 table


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Offers important clues for comparative analysis, as it addresses the legacy of colonialism while examining the different corruption ‘syndromes’ that characterize developing and developed countries. The description of petty corruption in the former countries is fascinating, as are the observations around the institutionalized privileges in developed ones.—Vincenzo Ruggiero, British Journal of Criminology

An innovative contribution to studying longue durée histories of the region through the very specific but also expansive phenomenon of corruption.—Anubha Anushree, Journal of Asian Studies

A much-needed breath of fresh air… Breaks with the established and repetitive modes of writing about corruption… Rajan’s book is indeed very ambitious, and a joy to read… Can be recommended to all who seek a more critical perspective on systemic corruption and elite power over the long durée.—Tereza Østbø Kuldova, Journal of Extreme Anthropology

This provocative, deeply informed, and beautifully written book brings the sweep of history and transdisciplinary wisdom to bear on corruption, one of the perennial puzzles of human sociality.—Arjun Appadurai, author of Fear of Small Numbers

A brilliant and wide-ranging reconsideration of the phenomenon of corruption. Rajan does not see corruption merely as individual pathology, but imaginatively links it to the material and intellectual operation of power in societies. He then applies this framework to provide a unique window on the long-term organisation of corruption in India. The book is a wonderful provocation that breaks new ground.—Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Ashoka University

Rajan’s engrossing account of systemic corruption—the grand malady of our times—is audacious in its theoretical and empirical reach. This provocative study moves fluently across disciplines and over millennia to show how injustice is concealed in plain view: coded into common sense, artifacts, rituals, and ruling ideas.—Amita Baviskar, Institute of Economic Growth, India

Is corruption equal to the use of public office for private gain, as is commonly argued? Or is it also anchored in the cultural practices of a society? Here is the first systematic argument about how corruption and culture are related. The claim is not that some cultures are incorrigibly corrupt, but that elites use cultural practices, a publicly shared societal resource, for private benefit. A riveting argument!—Ashutosh Varshney, author of Battles Half Won: India’s Improbable Democracy

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