Akhil Gupta

Akhil Gupta
UCLA · Department of Anthropology

About

41
Publications
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8,413
Citations

Publications

Publications (41)
Article
Business process outsourcing (BPO) industries providing customer service are characterized by three features: the product of labor is affect; affect is central to the labor process; and affect constitutes a crucial modality for the workers’ subject formation. This affective labor is distinctive in that workers’ connections to their customers are li...
Book
Full-text available
From U.S.-Mexico border walls to Flint's poisoned pipes, there is a new urgency to the politics of infrastructure. Roads, electricity lines, water pipes, and oil installations promise to distribute the resources necessary for everyday life. Yet an attention to their ongoing processes also reveals how infrastructures are made with fragile and often...
Article
In our introduction to this special issue, we take stock of where the anthropological literature on corruption has come and where it might go next. Our goal is neither to provide an exhaustive literature review nor to summarize the papers gathered together in this issue. Rather, we aim to identify especially promising areas in need of more focused...
Article
Full-text available
Since its beginning in 2000, the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry has grown to employ 700,000 young people in India. These workers spend their nights interacting by phone and online with customers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and elsewhere. In this article, we focus on the affective dimensions of work in this indu...
Article
This article has four important goals. First, I want to ask why liberalization and market-friendly reforms failed to curb corruption in India. Indeed, confounding the predictions of most proponents of reform, corruption seems to have increased after the neoliberal reforms of 1991. Second, I aim to develop a typology in which the importance of parti...
Article
By examining the affective regimes generated by call center workers in Bangalore, the authors argue that the forms of alienation and intimacy they generate are coimplicated, rather than in opposition, to each other. In contesting the presumption that the intimate is in contradistinction to the public, the authors join scholarly conversations that t...
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, a dramatic increase in the study of infrastructure has occurred in the social sciences and humanities, following upon foundational work in the physical sciences, architecture, planning, information science, and engineering. This article, authored by a multidisciplinary group of scholars, probes the generative potential of infrastru...
Article
Blurred Boundaries: The Discourse of Corruption, the Culture of Politics, and the Imagined State,” by Akhil Gupta, first appeared in print in 1995 in the pages of American Ethnologist. It went on to become one of the most important and influential articles of recent decades. We talked with Akhil Gupta about how the argument put forward in “Blurred...
Book
DIVRed Tape presents a major new theory of the state developed by the renowned anthropologist Akhil Gupta. Seeking to understand the chronic and widespread poverty in India, the world's fourth largest economy, Gupta conceives of the relation between the state in India and the poor as one of structural violence. Every year this violence kills betwee...
Article
Full-text available
Extreme poverty continues to be a major problem in contemporary India despite the fact that the poor are included in democratic politics and national sovereignty. I argue that Agamben's concept of homo sacer better allows us to understand the fate of the poor, who can be killed without sacrifice, than Foucault's idea of biopower. However, in recent...
Article
contingent form of organizing space in the world. National identity appears to be firmly spatialized and seemingly immutable, becoming almost a "natural" marker of cultural and social difference. This article problematizes nationalism by juxtaposing it and other forms of spatial commitment and identity, particularly transnational ones. In so doing,...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, I have tried to reflect on what cosmopolitanism might mean in a very different era of globalisation than the present. Although cosmopolitanism, as an expansive and sociable vision, is often contrasted with the geographically limited perspective and claustrophobic affinities of nationalism, the term originates in a historical period b...
Article
Full-text available
This article explores the way that �received ideas� about space and place have shaped, and continue to shape, the common sense of the anthropological task. Specifcally, we want to inquire how the renewed interest in postmodern and feminist theory about space theorization (revealed in notions such as vigilance, panopticism, simulacrum, deterritorial...
Chapter
In this exploratory article, we ask how states come to be understood as entities with particular spatial characteristics, and how changing relations between practices of government and national territories may be challenging long‐established modes of state spatiality. In the first part of this article, we seek to identify two principles that are ke...
Chapter
This essay revisits theories of nationalism by focusing on questions of time and temporality, in particular, the question of whether the ideas of time central to Anderson's influential work on nationalism may not be usefully rethought from the perspective of Third World nationalism. Accordingly, notions of homogeneous, empty time, the modularity of...
Article
Full-text available
This article explores the way that “received ideas” about space and place have shaped, and continue to shape, the common sense of the anthropological task. Specifcally, we want to inquire how the renewed interest in postmodern and feminist theory about space theorization (revealed in notions such as vigilance, panopticism, simulacrum, deterritorial...
Article
In this article I attempt to analyze stories about corruption for what they might reveal about the Indian state. By triangulating my own fieldwork data, a prize-winning novel written by an official of the Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) state government, and the accounts of corruption by one of the major social anthropologists of India, F.G. Bailey, I claim t...
Article
Although less well known than the Tibetan search for high lamas, cases of reincarnation reported from other parts of the world frequently involve very young children. What does this imply for our understanding of childhood? Reincarnated children are inhabited by their (adult) thoughts and gestures, and clearly have to be conceptualized as more comp...
Article
The second volume of John and Jean Comaroff"s RR delivers a complex and richly nuanced analysis of the complexities of colonial domination. In my response I focus on three topics in particular: on processes of historical causation and notions of temporality; on processes of governmentality; and on the possibilities of self-reflexivity in how coloni...
Article
In this article I attempt to do an ethnography of the state by examining the discourses of corruption in contemporary India. I focus on the practices of lower levels of the bureaucracy in a small north Indian town as well as on representations of the state in the mass media. Research on translocal institutions such as “the state” enables us to refl...
Article
Economists and political scientists have become increasingly interested in the political economy of India during the past decade and particularly during the past three or four years. The titles under review will be valuable not only to India specialists but also to comparative scholars because of the intriguing mix of conditions found in India. Mor...
Article
Examines the Telengana movement, one of the largest armed peasant uprisings in the history of modern India. At its peak, it spanned an area of about 15 000 square miles with a population of 3 to 4 million. Peasant rule was established in 2000-3000 villages and defended by a guerilla army of about 2000 regular members and an additional 10 000 activi...
Article
The first part is largely descriptive, a sketch of the state of affairs in Hyderabad before the revolutionary rupture. In the second part, it assesses the achievements of the movement and seeks the causes of its initial success, its subsequent defeat, and its origins.-from Author
Article
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Stanford University, 1988. Includes bibliographical references (p. 223-236). Photocopy.

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