Criminal Capital: Violence, Corruption and Class in Industrial India, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Criminal Capital

Violence, Corruption and Class in Industrial India, 1st Edition

By Andrew Sanchez

Routledge India

186 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780815376644
pub: 2017-11-28
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pub: 2016-04-20
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Criminal Capital explores the relationship between neoliberalism, criminality and the reshaping of class in modern India. It discusses how the political vocabularies of urban industrial workers reflect the processes by which power is distributed across the region. Based upon field research among a ‘casualised’ workforce in the industrial city of Jamshedpur, the book examines the links between the decline of employment security, and criminality in trade unions, corporations and the state.

The volume compares popular discourses of corruption against the ethnography of local labour politics, business enterprise and debt collection, and shows how corruption and criminality consolidate class power in industrial environments. Using an interdisciplinary ethnographic approach, this study interrogates the relationship between capitalism, corruption, violence and labour politics in contemporary Indian society.

An important intervention in the study of Indian political economy, this work will be of interest to scholars and researchers of Indian politics, social anthropology, economics, labour relations and criminology.


‘Criminalisation of politics and corruption are by far the most discussed, but least understood, topics in India. Andrew Sanchez has achieved a remarkable analytical tour de force in this masterfully researched and sharply insightful study that convincingly alters the way in which we conceive of the role of crime and the meanings of corruption in India's contemporary capitalism and democracy.’Nandini Gooptu, Associate Professor of South Asian Studies, University of Oxford

Criminal Capital tells an Indian tale of global relevance — what happens when economic liberalisation encourages firms to focus on profit in an era of global competition. The result is workers with little hope of security, and unions, companies and politicians with little sense of obligation to anyone but themselves.’James Carrier, Research Associate, Oxford Brookes University

‘Class and labour are back in vogue. Andrew Sanchez’s rich local ethnography of Jamshedpur, the quintessential company town around the Tata corporation, India, is shot through with global comparison and universalising insight. He shows how an ever more casualised local working class explains its condition with ideas of systemic corruption, and why those ideas make sense. A fantastic contribution to Indian labour ethnography as well as to global comparative class analysis.’Don Kalb, Professor of Social Anthropology, Central European University

Table of Contents

Part I: Class & Capitalism 1. Criminal Capital 2. Dispossession and the Class Concept in Industrial India Part II: Power & Enterprise 3. The Political Economy of Criminal Enterprise 4. The Decline of Collective Action Part III: Division and Change 5. Ethnic Violence and the Daily Politics of Labour 6. Continuity and the Casualisation of Labour Conclusion

About the Author

Andrew Sanchez is Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Kent, UK. After completing his PhD in Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2009, he was LSE Fellow from 2009 to 2012, and Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology from 2012 to 2014. His writings on class, labour and corruption have been published in the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Critique of Anthropology, Modern Asian Studies and a number of reports and edited volumes. He is currently conducting an ethnographic study of the Indian scrap metal trade.

About the Series

Exploring the Political in South Asia

Exploring the Political in South Asia is devoted to the publication of research on the political cultures of the region. The books in this Series will present qualitative and quantitative analyses grounded in field research, and will explore the cultures of democracies in their everyday local settings, specifically the workings of modern political institutions, practices of political mobilisation, manoeuvres of high politics, structures of popular beliefs, content of political ideologies and styles of political leadership, amongst others. Through fine-grained descriptions of particular settings in South Asia, the studies presented in this Series will inform, and have implications for, general discussions of democracy and politics elsewhere in the world.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Labor & Industrial Relations
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Economic Conditions
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General