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Accepted Paper:

Complicity, good and bad. Or, how nation-state institutions give complicity a bad name, with examples from China and Wa.  
Hans Steinmüller (London School of Economics)

Paper short abstract:

in China, complicity is seen as a problem and an aberration, whereas in the Wa State of Myanmar it is actively encouraged. The difference is explained by the presence (or absence) of nation-state institutions.

Paper long abstract:

People in China have to deal with radical tensions between vernacular sociality and official discourse. Shared recognition of such sources of shame can lead to a sense of complicity. For instance, the complicity of those who understand that wasteful consumption is part of local etiquette yet cannot be shown to urbanites and officials. Historically, communities of complicity are tied to core elements of nation-state modernity, including general literacy, mass media, and government bureaucracy. That is, institutions that accord responsibility to individuals, and thus create an environment in which complicity easily turns into shame. In the absence of the same institutions, co-responsibility is the default situation and thus complicity is generally seen as a positive achievement (rather than an abomination). We can identify those good and bad versions of complicity in the different shapes the same campaigns to eradicate superstition took in central China and in the Wa State of Myanmar. Predicated on the overwhelming force and impact of nation-state institutions, in China, complicity easily turns into abjection. Good complicity, however, emerges in the environment of the Wa State, where nation-state institutions remain weak: here, complicity is positively encouraged and cultivated as co-responsibility, even by local elites.

Panel Mora02a
Complicities: politics and ethics at the edges of responsibility I
  Session 1 Friday 2 April, 2021, -