Malini Ranganathan et al., “Corruption Plots: Stories, Ethics, and Publics of the Late Capitalist City” (Cornell UP, 2023)

Corruption Plots: Stories, Ethics, and Publics of the Late Capitalist City (Cornell UP, 2023) illuminates how corruption is fundamental to global storytelling about how states and elites abuse entrusted power in late capitalism. The millennial city of the global South is a charged setting for allegations of corruption, with skyscrapers, land grabs, and slum evictions invoking outrage at deepening economic polarization. Drawing on ethnography in Bengaluru and Mumbai and a cross-section of literary and cinematic stories from cities around the world, Malini Ranganathan, David L. Pike, and Sapana Doshi pay close attention to the racial, caste, class, and gender locations of the narrators, spaces, and publics imagined to be harmed by corruption. Corruption Plots demonstrates how corruption talk is leveraged to make sense of unequal spatial change and used opportunistically by those who are themselves implicated in wrongdoing. Offering a wide-ranging analysis of urban worlds, the authors reveal the ethical, spatial, and political stakes of storytelling and how vital it is to examine the corruption plot in all its contradictions.

Sneha Annavarapu is Assistant Professor of Urban Studies at Yale-NUS College.

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