Thanks to Fug’s Blog I found a reference to the thought provoking paper’s abstract that I am posting below. The idea of a ‘captive mind’ is precisely what I have been mulling about. Thanks to this paper, I am likely to give a better shape to my raw, unformed ideas –
Sociology of Corruption and ‘Corruption of Sociology’: Evaluating the Contributions of Syed Hussein Alatas
Current Sociology, Vol. 54, No. 1, 25-39 (2006)
Habibul Haque Khondker
National University of Singapore
This article examines corruption as a social problem and a phenomenon that illustrates certain problems in agenda-setting in sociology. Understanding such questions as why corruption remains largely outside the purview of sociology, and how sociological agendas are set can be found in the works of Syed Hussein Alatas, who wrote about corruption as far back as the 1950s. Sociology of corruption as a subfield failed to take off despite the ubiquity of this phenomenon. In recent years, new books have been published, including an updated version of Professor Alatas’s work. Studies of corruption remain a prerogative of the political scientists and public policy experts. Economists see corruption as a market-distorting externality and treat it as a peripheral subject. Gunnar Myrdal, who was an exception, in his Asian Drama, identified corruption as a serious bottleneck for Asian development. The problem persists 40 years on from Myrdal’s analysis. In many countries in the developing world, corruption has become part of the fabric of society. Yet, sociological theorization and empirical studies are lacking. This article examines corruption both as a social problem and an indicator of the ‘corruption of sociology’, drawing on the writings of Alatas, especially his notion of ‘captive mind’ or the absence of intellectual autonomy on the part of the Third World sociologists.