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Distributed for UCL Press

The Wild East

Criminal Political Economies in South Asia

Distributed for UCL Press

The Wild East

Criminal Political Economies in South Asia

Through eleven case studies conducted across India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, The Wild East examines a variety of economic sectors and business enterprises that regularly flout the law, such as coal, oil, real estate, and industrial labor. Bridging anthropology and political economy, the case studies explore how state regulative law is ignored or selectively manipulated and reveal the workings of regulated criminal economic systems in which politicians, police, judges, and bureaucrats are closely intertwined. Disrupting the existing literature on South Asia’s informal economy, The Wild East also suggests avenues for future research that will be of critical value to students and scholars of economics, anthropology, sociology, criminology, comparative politics, political science, and international relations.


380 pages | 1 halftone | 6.14 x 9.21 | © 2019

Free digital open access editions are available to download from UCL Press.

Sociology: General Sociology

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"A useful corrective to narrative. . . . which do not tell the full story of the Indian economy."

Commonwealth & Comparative Politics

“This grimly fascinating book showcases cutting-edge research on the close links between criminality and capitalism in contemporary South Asia. These searing accounts of “the normalization of criminal accumulation” need to be read and understood as much by citizens as by those claiming to represent them.”

Jayati Ghosh, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Table of Contents

Barbara Harriss-White and Lucia Michelutti
1. The criminal economics and politics of black coal in Jharkhand, 2014
Nigel Singh and Barbara Harriss-White
2. Jharia’s century-old fire kept ablaze by crime and politics
Smita Gupta
3. Sand and the Politics of Plunder in Tamil Nadu, India
J. Jeyaranjan
4. Himalayan Hydro-criminality: Dams, Development and Politics in Arunachal Pradesh, India
Deepak K Mishra
5. Crime in the Air: Spectrum Markets and the Telecommunications Sector in India
Jai Bhatia
6. The inter-State criminal life of sand and oil in North India, western Uttar Pradesh
Lucia Michelutti
7. Red sanders mafia’ in South India Violence, electoral democracy and labour
David Picherit
8. ‘The Land and Real Estate Mafia’, East India, West Bengal
Tone K. Sissener
9. Politics, Capital, and Land Grabs in Punjab, India
Nicolas Martin
10. The Politics of Contracting inProvincial Bangladesh
Arild Engelsen Ruud
11. Putting Out the Baldia Factory Fire: How the Trial of Karachi’s Industrial Capitalism Did Not Happen
Laurent Gayer

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