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Introduction - Sharp Practice: Anthropology and the Study of Corruption

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This introduction of the book volume Corruption: Anthropological Perspectives introduces the interrogation of corruption as a category of thought and organizing principle, and the examination of corruption’s political and cultural implications. It argues for an anthropology of corruption that allows for focusing on problems of meaning and representation, rather than the previous conventional institutional approaches and theoretical models. The introduction begins by outlining the two predominant approaches to corruption: structural and interactional approaches, and argues that these approaches may offer useful insights in the study of corruption but that they are inadequate for understanding the complexity of the relationships involved. The section also addresses the reasons for pushing for an anthropology of corruption. The introduction argues that an anthropological approach to corruption studies can address the challenges of conducting field research, and addressing concerns regarding issues of trust and research ethics.

Publication Year: 
Pluto Press
Book Title: 
Corruption: Anthropological Perspectives