Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Traversing the margins of corruption amidst informal economies in Amazonia

Peluso, Daniela M. (2018) Traversing the margins of corruption amidst informal economies in Amazonia. Culture, Theory and Critique, 59 (4). pp. 400-418. ISSN 1473-5776. (doi:10.1080/14735784.2018.1499433) (KAR id:67276)


This article focuses on local idioms of extra-legal economic activity among indigenous Amazonians in eastern Peru, and its overall argument is that these idioms are part of a broader context in which indigenous people are compelled by a variety of factors to act in a seemingly corrupt manner. I further suggest that within such a context these idioms are not confined to the informal economy but are also used to refer to activities that fall within the formal economy, supporting Hart’s (2009) claim that the informal economy is a way of imagining the orthodox economy. I argue that corruption within Amazonian economies is commonly perceived by non-indigenous people as contrasting with the workings of the orthodox economy without proper consideration of the economic conditions and bureaucratic structures that give rise to it. Lastly, I argue that, here, corruption can contravene bureaucracy by restoring the humanity that Herzfeld (1993) claims bureaucracy rejects through its acts of indifference toward individuals.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/14735784.2018.1499433
Projects: Ese Eja migration, ethnogenesis and rural-urban dynamics: a multi-sited comparative approach in the south eastern Peruvian Amazon
Uncontrolled keywords: corruption, bribery, informal economy, bureaucracy, Amazonia, Latin America
Subjects: F History United States, Canada, Latin America
F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1201 Latin America (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Funders: [37325] UNSPECIFIED
Depositing User: Daniela Peluso
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2018 12:19 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 18:28 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.