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Paperwork as Commodity, Corruption as Accumulation: Land Records and Licences in Colonial Myanmar, c.1900

Saha, Jonathan (2021) 'Paperwork as Commodity, Corruption as Accumulation: Land Records and Licences in Colonial Myanmar, c.1900.', in Corruption, Empire and Colonialism in the Modern Era. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 293-315. Palgrave Studies in Comparative Global History.

Abstract

In conceptualising the role played by paperwork in the history of corruption, historians of empire have uncovered the social lives of written documents. Studies have revealed an intrinsic duality to their use. They were the basis of colonial surveillance systems, but as well as enabling state authority and oversight, they could also be used to evade state authority through fraudulent use, fabrication and forgery. Through the examples of land records and licences in colonial Myanmar, I show that this duality enabled subordinate state officials to make an illicit profit from the production of paperwork. Although often an acknowledged part of the background context, histories of corruption are yet to grapple seriously with the role played by capitalism. This chapter by Jonathan Saha argues that by considering paperwork to be a particular type of commodity, we can better understand the prevalence of particular illicit practices.

Item Type:Book chapter
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo until 16 June 2023.
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
File format - PDF
(305Kb)
Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-0255-9_11
Publisher statement:Saha, J., Paperwork as Commodity, Corruption as Accumulation: Land Records and Licences in Colonial Myanmar, c.1900. In: Kroeze R., Dalmau P., Monier F. (eds) Corruption, Empire and Colonialism in the Modern Era. Palgrave Studies in Comparative Global History, 2021, Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore reproduced with permission of Palgrave Macmillan. This extract is taken from the author's original manuscript and has not been edited. The definitive, published, version of record is available here: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-0255-9_11
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:25 October 2021
Date of first online publication:16 June 2021
Date first made open access:16 June 2023

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