Forcing "Good" and the Legitimation of Informal Power. Philanthrocapitalism and Artistic Nationalism among the Indian Business Elites
AbstractUntil recently, India’s wealthy were held in contempt and perceived with suspicion both by the general public and the media; newspaper articles about the greedy rich and their excesses pro-liferated. However, following the global financial crisis of 2008, magazines like Forbes India began aggressively pushing the idea of the generous and caring Indian business elites, a “force of good”; annual events such as the Forbes sponsored Philanthropy Awards and art and fashion galas for a good cause became popular and the notion of philanthrocapitalism was embraced by the elite. It is argued here that behind this development is a particular convergence of underly-ing legitimation crises, the first within the realm of business and the second within the realm of fashion and the arts. These then force the two realms into collaboration in a pursuit of the com-mon goal of social legitimacy, accumulation of symbolic capital and (re)production of the pow-er mystique of the elite. The article is grounded in extensive ethnographic fieldwork among the North Indian business and fashion elite, from 2008–2013.
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