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Andrew Sanchez

Based upon ethnographic research conducted among industrial workers and trade unionists in urban India, this chapter interrogates the systemic relationship between political authority, organised crime and institutional corruption. Using an extended case study of the decline of effective collective action in an Indian company town, the authorargues that corruption and violence are integral to the political-economic processes of industrial societies. The author considers what the implications of this model are for our understanding of political corruption and suggests that analytic frameworks premised on the interrogation of petty bribery are inappropriate conceptual tools with which to explain the entropy of trade unionism.

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Andrew Sanchez

This chapter first explores the reasons for the decline of class analysis in the age of neoliberalism before engaging with the arguments for the return of class. The chapter considers social anthropology’s changing relationship to the class concept by asking what ethnographers have done with the idea, why it fell out of favour during the 1980s and 1990s, and how attention to the topic has since been reinvigorated by analyses of precarity, economic crisis and social capital. The chapter concludes by considering why contemporary political anthropology must continue to engage carefully with the types of power relations described by the term ‘class’.

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Joanna Howe, Esther Sánchez and Andrew Stewart