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Unpacking the Anti-corruption Agenda: Dilemmas for Anthropologists


  • Elizabeth Harrison


This paper explores the dilemmas involved in an anthropological examination of both corruption and the international anti-corruption agenda, arguing that the two must be seen as closely related. The dilemma for anthropologists is that in either unpacking the “meaning” of corruption at a local level, or deconstructing the anti-corruption agenda, the realities of power involved in the attribution of corruption may be overlooked. It is concluded that, to a large extent, the solution lies in the ethnographic focus. Rather than simply examining meanings at a local level, or the international discourse, it is important to see how particular accounts of corruption develop and are translated from international to national and local policy contexts.

Suggested Citation

  • Elizabeth Harrison, 2006. "Unpacking the Anti-corruption Agenda: Dilemmas for Anthropologists," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(1), pages 15-29.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:oxdevs:v:34:y:2006:i:1:p:15-29 DOI: 10.1080/13600810500495915

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Malte Gephart, 2009. "Contextualizing Conceptions of Corruption: Challenges for the International Anti-corruption Campaign," GIGA Working Paper Series 115, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.

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