Corruption : Anthropological Perspectives

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Corruption in politics and business is, after war, perhaps the greatest threat to democracy. Academic studies of corruption tend to come from the field of International Relations, analysing systems of formal rules and institutions. This book offers a radically different perspective -- it shows how anthropology can throw light on aspects of corruption that remain unexamined in international relations. The contributors reveal how corruption operates through informal rules, personal connections and the wider social contexts that govern everyday practices. They argue that patterns of corruption are part of the fabric of everyday life -- wherever we live -- and subsequently they are often endemic in our key institutions. The book examines corruption across a range of different contexts from transitional societies such as post-Soviet Russia and Romania, to efforts to reform or regulate institutions that are perceived to be potentially corrupt, such as the European Commission. The book also covers the Enron and WorldCom scandals, the mafia in Sicily and the USA, and the world of anti-corruption as represented by NGOs like Transparency more

Product details

  • Hardback | 264 pages
  • 136 x 216 x 24mm | 480.82g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745321585
  • 9780745321585

About Dieter Haller

Dieter Haller is Associate Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. His focus is on political anthropology, borderland studies, gender, and the Mediterranean. Cris Shore is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Auckland (New Zealand). His most recent publications are: 'Up Close and Personal: On Peripheral Perspectives and the Production of Anthropological Knowledge', Oxford/New York: Berghahn (co-edited with Susanna Trnka, 2013) and 'The Sage Handbook of Social Anthropology'.show more

Table of contents

1. Cris Shore and Dieter Haer 'Sharp Practice: Anthropology and the Study of Corruption' Part I. Corruption in 'Transitional' Societies 2. Jane Schneider and Peter Schneider 'The Intersection of Political Corruption and Organized Crime: A Comparison of Palermo, Italy and Youngstown, Ohio.' 3. Michele Rivkin-Fish 'Bribes, Gifts, and Unofficial Payments: Towards an Anthropology of Corruption in Post-Soviet Russia' 4. David Lovell 'Corruption as a Transitional Phenomenon: Understanding Endemic Corruption' 5. Filippo M. Zerilli 'Corruption, Property Restitution, and Romanianness' Part II. Institutionalised Corruption and Institutions of Anti-Corruption 6. Steven Sampson 'Integrity Warriors: Global Morality and the Anticorruption Movement in the Balkans' 7. Cris Shore 'Culture and Corruption in the EU: reflections on Fraud, Nepotism and Cronyism in the European Commission' 8. Carol MacLennan 'Corruption in Corporate America: Enron - Before and After' Part III. Narratives and Practices of Everyday of Corruption 9. Akhil Gupta, 'Narrating the State of Corruption' 10. Dorle Drackle, 'Where the Jeeps Come From: Narrations on Corruption in the Alentejo (Southern Portugal)' 11. Sian Lazar 'Citizens despite the State: Everyday corruption and local politics in El Alto, Bolivia' 12. Afterword: Dorothy Louise Zinn 'Anthropology and Corruption: the State of the Art' Notes on Contributors Indexshow more

Review quote

Corruption: Anthropological Perspectives breaks new descriptive and theoretical ground for anthropology. It deals seriously with a topic that was frequently rationalized by anthropologists in the past in the name of cultural relativism. The authors question what "corruption" could possibly mean, but they also give no quarter to those who would claim that the exploiters of the world are merely following cultural convention in abusing their fellow community members. From the complexity of the corporate Enron scandal to skullduggery at the village level in the Balkans, the expert authors create a lively forum. In an especially welcome turn, one section of the book deals with discourse about corruption, showing both how endemic this practice is, and yet how easily it inflames and angers humans everywhere. -- William Beeman, Professor of Anthropology, Brown University and Visiting Professor of Cultural and Social Anthropology, Stanford University An exceptionally timely anthropological response to an increasingly insistent global discourse of 'good governance', this excellent collection offers fresh and sophisticated perspectives for cross-cultural analysis of the meanings and roles of 'corruption', transcending the boundary between North and South to provide a constructive critique of the discourse itself. The editors have richly delivered on their claim that 'corruption' is 'good to think with'. -- John Gledhill, Max Gluckman Professor of Social Anthropology, The University of Manchestershow more

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