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Defining Political Corruption

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The paper discusses the dilemmas of defining political corruption, and explores the difficulties arising from this definitional dilemma. The author identifies a number of conceptual structures linked to political corruption including a recognition of certain formal responsibilities attached to public office, and the violation of rules and norms concerning the exercise of public office. These also include the intended harming of rules and norms as to illegitimately serve others, and the benefitting of those who are not supposed to benefit and thus undermining the legitimate ends of the public office or positions of trust. The author argues against presenting a single-line definition of political corruption, and postulates grasping the conceptual commitments of the term as to make sense of the phenomenon, and for developing a finer grained distinction, that isolates different types of corrupt relations.

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Political Studies