Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Corruption as power, studies from Bihar by Jeffrey Witsoe

Everyday Corruption and the Political Mediation of the Indian State: An Ethnographic Exploration of Brokers in Bihar (February 2012
An earlier article covering some of the same ground:
Corruption as Power: Caste and the Political Imagination in the Postcolonial State (January 2011)
P.S. Usually, the links seem to disappear after a while and EPW articles are available without subscription only for a few weeks. I will post passages from the two articles ( I think that they are excellent and I will come back to them several times later on) so that it will be easier to find them somewhere. From the first article:
"But what exactly is the role of politics and politicians in the everyday functioning of the Indian state and how does this relate to what is commonly called “corruption”. This article will examine the role of politically-connected brokers in mediating many people’s access to state institutions and in shaping everyday administration– what I term the political mediation of the Indian state. I focus on brokers as a window into political mediation because they are the visible face of this process – it can be much harder, for instance, to see behind-the-scenes control of the local Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA). I argue that taking brokers seriously changes the ways in which we think about the Indian state and reveals some of thecomplex causes of corruption in Indian public life."
From the second (earlier) article:
"The image of a postcolonial state based on the promises of nation building, development, and rule of law but governed through networks of patronage that re-inforced upper-caste dominance (effectively undermining these promises) clashed with a politics of caste empowerment that sought to weaken development and law-and-order-related institutions thought to be controlled by upper castes, replacing them with alternate networks of lower-caste politicians, mafia figures, and an emergent class of political brokers. I argue that these two radically divergent modes of governance reflect very different ways of imagining the postcolonial state, representing alternative forms of political subjectivity."

1 comment:

Jonas Smith said...

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