This chapter discusses the current prominence of corruption in academic literature and international policy circles. It presents an overview of dominant social-scientific approaches and their limitations, arguing for an anthropological perspective. The chapter argues that the current debate about corruption is shaped by the division between the state and society and a corresponding public-private dichotomy. It further argues that the study of corruption cannot be an end in itself but should rather be a field of inquiry to understand power relations in society at large. The chapter addresses often neglected but crucial aspects of corruption, namely the importance of performance, the meaning of different discursive registers, the prevalence of conspiracy theories and fantasies surrounding corrupt practices, and the role of corruption accusations. It asserts that the discrepancy between public denouncement and secret endorsement should even be seen as a manifestation of the fact that the public fight against corruption is necessary for the reproduction of the murky corrupt underworld.
|Title of host publication||Corruption and the Secret of Law|
|Subtitle of host publication||A Legal Anthropological Perspective|
|Editors||Gerhard Anders, Monique Nuijten|
|Place of Publication||London|
|Number of pages||24|
|ISBN (Print)||9780754676829, 9781138415461|
|Publication status||Published - 10 Feb 2009|