The construction of corruption, or rules of separation and illusions of purity in bourgeois societies

Bratsis, P 2003, 'The construction of corruption, or rules of separation and illusions of purity in bourgeois societies' , Social Text, 21 (4 77) , pp. 9-33.

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George W. Bush and his "coalition of the willing" wage war on the corrupt regime of Saddam Hussein. Islamic fundamentalists deride their national governments as corrupt and, accordingly, have little love for the United States, a patron of many of these regimes. The World Bank has declared that corruption is the single greatest obstacle to global development. The Michigan Militia and similar right-wing populist groups claim that federal institutions, such as the FBI and IRS, are a corruption. Left-leaning critics and reformers such as Michael Moore and Ralph Nader, attack the corruption that presumably plagues American political and economic life. The list could go on and on; it seems that there is hardly any comtemporary political tendency that does not contain some form of anti-corruption agenda. It is striking that so many disparate and competing political discourses all agree that corruption is a problem, oftentimes the problem. Regardless of the interpretive frame (right, left, populist, technocratic, religious, secular, etc.), the specter of corruption is a constant, and is both unavoidable and unquestioned; unquestioned in the sense that the undesirability of corruption is taken as a given, no substantive argument is needed - who is, after all, in favor of corruption? - and unavoidable in that corruption seems to refer to underlying tensions, antagonisms, and traumas that, regardless of one's conceptual toolbox and political tendencies, cannot be ignored or passed over.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Subjects / Themes > J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences > Centre for Democracy and Human Rights
Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Social Text
Publisher: Duke University Press
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 01642472
Depositing User: H Kenna
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2009 11:38
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 08:04

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