Forcing "Good" and the Legitimation of Informal Power. Philanthrocapitalism and Artistic Nationalism among the Indian Business Elites

  • Tereza Kuldova (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


Until recently, India’s wealthy were held in contempt and perceived with suspicion both by the general public and the media; newspaper articles about the greedy rich and their excesses pro-liferated. However, following the global financial crisis of 2008, magazines like Forbes India began aggressively pushing the idea of the generous and caring Indian business elites, a “force of good”; annual events such as the Forbes sponsored Philanthropy Awards and art and fashion galas for a good cause became popular and the notion of philanthrocapitalism was embraced by the elite. It is argued here that behind this development is a particular convergence of underly-ing legitimation crises, the first within the realm of business and the second within the realm of fashion and the arts. These then force the two realms into collaboration in a pursuit of the com-mon goal of social legitimacy, accumulation of symbolic capital and (re)production of the pow-er mystique of the elite. The article is grounded in extensive ethnographic fieldwork among the North Indian business and fashion elite, from 2008–2013.