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The Anthropology of Corruption

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The author identifies a ‘corruption boom’ present in the social sciences literature and argues that an anthropological perspective to the study of the phenomenon is absent. It is argued that an anthropological standpoint provides a fresh approach to the moral aspects of corruption; that it allows a deeper analysis of political issues such as governance; and that it deliberately does not offer a universal definition of corruption; as well as ethnography’s promise of uncovering rich and complicated social phenomena. Additionally, it is argued that anthropology allows for investigating corruption in a more holistic fashion and in relation with other social factors; that it underlines the need to study the link between culture and corruption; and that it pushes for understanding the positive social harmony that might be linked to corruption and as such developing mechanisms allowing for its elimination.

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Journal of Management Inquiry