A “Surreptitious Introduction”: Opium Smuggling and Colonial State Formation in Late Nineteenth-Century Bengal and Burma

  • Diana KimEmail author


This chapter examines an 1870 dispute about opium smuggling that unfolded in the British Indian colony of Burma. It traces how a small intra-bureaucratic disagreement escalated into a large and enduring controversy over how to observe an invisible activity, the political economic and moral significance of that activity in a non-European setting, as well as a colonial state’s proper regulatory role.


Opium Smuggling Burma British empire Nineteenth century Southeast Asia State formation Illicit markets Colonial bureaucracy 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign ServiceGeorgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA

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