Anthropological perspectives on corruption
By Tone Kristin Sissener, Chr. Michelsen Institute Development Studies and Human Rights
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The primary concern of this paper is to present anthropological perspectives on corruption. The emphasis is on how anthropological methods and approaches can contribute to a broader understanding of corruption. International debates on how to approach the phenomenon are ongoing, but corruption is generally defined as the abuse of public office for private gain. It is argued that this conventional definition is too narrow and excessively concerned with the illegality of practices. Explorations of how the actors themselves evaluate social practices are seen as essential. Variations in social experiences and cultural values may explain why corruption remains ambiguous.