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The Wild East: India’s Criminal Economy and Politics

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 17:00 to 19:00

Russell Square: College Buildings, Room DLT
Development Studies Seminar Series
Professor Barbara Harriss-White (University of Oxford)

In the 21st century, many parts of the South Asian subcontinent are being conquered not by settler-migrants (as was the case in the Wild West) but by unruly and illegal forms of capital. The connections between criminal profit and politics – the criminalisation of politics – incentivise the politicisation of crime and the proliferation of ‘mafias’ and criminal economies. This talk will attempt to summarise a unique project of field research into natural resource crimes and political funding and behaviour in India, arguing that mainstreaming the criminal economy challenges many political science orthodoxies.

About the speaker:

Barbara Harris-White is Professor Emeritus of Development Studies, Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, and a Professorial Research Associate at SOAS. Barbara’s work is focused on India, and in particular on political economy; agriculture, energy and food; aspects of deprivation; India’s informal capitalism; rural and local development; and low carbon transition. A central focus throughout her research has been on understanding real agricultural commodity markets in rural India through a political economy lens, and her field work, started in 1969,  has focussed in particular on Southern and Northeastern India. She has written, edited or co-edited over 35 books and major reports, in addition to publishing over 250 scholarly papers and chapters. 

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