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New Brooms and Old: Sweeping Up Corruption in India, One Law at a Time

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This paper examines the case of anti-corruption efforts in India through focusing on the public discourse on corruption in the wake of the Right to Information Act and the India Against Corruption movement. The paper critically examines law-focused anti-corruption strategies, and discusses the difficulties faced in delimiting corruption as well as the limits of the law in tackling it. The author argues that a lack of consensus over what counts as real corruption and in the identification of its sources complicates legal remedies, and further argues that law and corruption are inverted mirrors of each other. In this sense, law is viewed as a symbol of rationalized minority, and corruption as modernity’s dangerous underside. The author additionally argues that if law produces corruption as a category outside of the modern order and in need to be tackled, then it becomes paradoxical to use laws to dismantle it because it is bound to fail at its limits.

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Current Anthropology