This paper is an introduction to Current Anthropology’s special edition on corruption. The authors theorize corruption as an object of analysis by framing it as a globalized concept, and argue that it is particularly suitable for anthropological studies. The authors delve into a discussion why an anthropological lens for the study of corruption is important, and analyse the corruption/anti-corruption complex. They argue against reducing contemporary concerns with corruption to a mere symptom of neoliberal governance as that would ignore the potential of the corruption/anti-corruption complex to serve as one of the most malleable and powerful vehicles for critiquing formal and substantive inequalities existing within a hegemonic political framework. This political framework, it is argued, is predicated upon popular sovereignty and cannot escape the irresolvable tension between universal and abstract equality of rights and conditions of material inequality.