Talking crime and aggression: Tourism and governance in Agra, India

Bhandari, Riddhi (2021) Talking crime and aggression: Tourism and governance in Agra, India. South Asia: Journal of South Asia Studies, 44 (4). pp. 721-738. ISSN 856401

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This paper analyses allegations of aggression and criminality levelled against ambulant tourism entrepreneurs, such as tour guides and photographers, who work around the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, to understand how they experience neo-liberalisation in their everyday economic lives. I argue that these allegations function as technologies of neo-liberal governance through which non-state actors, like the media and tourists, engage in monitoring and regulating local entrepreneurs. Consequently, entrepreneurs experience neo-liberalisation in India in a paradoxical form: at once as a withdrawal of the Indian state from spaces it previously occupied and the simultaneous extension of governmentality, visible through increased public scrutiny.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Aggression | Criminality | Governance | Neo-liberalisation | Tourism
Subjects: Social Sciences and humanities > Business, Management and Accounting > Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Customs, Etiquette and Folklore
JGU School/Centre: Jindal School of Liberal Arts & Humanities
Depositing User: Mr. Syed Anas
Date Deposited: 29 Dec 2021 06:48
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2022 13:13
Official URL:
Additional Information: I would like to thank the editorial team at South Asia and the three anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful and detailed comments and feedback, which have helped shape this paper. My gratitude to friends, colleagues and fellow anthropologists Sean Furmage, A. Ted Samuel and Rachel Cantave for patiently and diligently reading several drafts of this paper and providing critical insights and endless support. Jepson School of Leadership Studies (University of Richmond) provided a congenial work environment where this paper was conceptualised and written. I thank the faculty, staff and students there. In particular, I would like to acknowledge Stephanie and Linda Trent for their willingness to see Agra through my eyes and my words. Last but not the least, I thank my research participants in Agra who, despite economic uncertainties and consistent bad press, opened their lives, their homes and their work to a stranger. I hope I do justice to your stories and your friendship. Names of all participants have been made anonymous for this paper.


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