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Publication Detail
Mafia Raj. The Rule of Bosses in South Asia
  • Publication Type:
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Michelutti L, Hoque A, Martin N, Picherit D, Rollier P, Ruud EA, Still C
  • Publisher:
    Stanford University Press
  • Publication date:
  • Place of publication:
  • Series:
    South Asia in Motion
  • ISBN-13:
  • Keywords:
    bossism, mafia, democracy, South Asia
In South Asia, ‘gangster politicians’ and their mafias have become objects of fear, admiration and fantasy. This book is the first systematic account of how strongmen rule de facto on the ground. It offers compelling intimate stories into the life trajectories of powerful muscular figures in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, exploring the sources of their charismatic authority, and how they inspire love and fear and manage to command power. Our approach is explicitly ethnographic, and grounded in lived experiences. Analytically, it situates the figure of the South Asian boss within the larger, global landscapes of crime, and through it theorizes what the authors call ‘the art of bossing’. The book argues that such an ‘art’ form is a potent relational mode of power and economic accumulation symptomatic of the current age. Understanding the micro-level dynamics of the rule of bosses nuances our knowledge of power in South Asia and the lure of the strongman across the world.
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