Department of Sociology

Nicholas Wilson - "Forging an Imperial Bureaucracy: Moral Order in British India"

Mon, October 29, 2012 | BUR 214

12:00 PM

Abstract: Where does a modern sense of duty among state officials come from? Using the case of early British colonialism in India, I argue that administrators' new impersonal self-justifications of their behavior resulted from three processes: indirect pressure from war; the changing metropolitan audience for Indian corruption scandals; and the shifting structural relationship between the East India Company and the British state. In addition, these impersonal justifications subsequently shaped the colonial state's contact with indigenous populations. In sum, I show how a critical case for the British Empire exposes a more general process of administrative modernization.

Bio: Nicholas Hoover Wilson received his Ph.D. in Sociology at UC Berkeley and is now a Postdoctoral Associate at the Yale MacMillan Center, a Senior Fellow at Yale's Center for Comparative Research, and a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology. He is the author of "From Reflection to Refraction: State Administration in British India, ca. 1770-1855," published in the American Journal of Sociology and winner of the 2012 Charles Tilly Award for Best Article from the ASA Comparative and Historical Sociology Section.

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