Political Corruption: The Internal Enemy of Public Institutions

ISBN : 9780197567869

Emanuela Ceva; Maria Paola Ferretti
240 Pages
140 x 210 mm
Pub date
Jun 2021
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From the spread of kleptocracy in Venezuela at the expense of the country's economy, to President Trump's appointment of family members to high-ranking White House positions, to President Lukashenko's desperate stranglehold on power in Belarus, across the world political corruption is rampant-indeed practically too ubiquitous to keep track of. As these examples illustrate, political corruption is often associated to a variety of instances of abuse of power that either derive from a vicious trait of individual character, or develop within deeply dysfunctional institutions. To Emanuela Ceva and Maria Paola Ferretti, however, this piecemeal view is inadequate: individual and institutional instances of political corruption have a common root that we can understand only by treating corruption and anticorruption as a matter of a public ethics of office. Political corruption is the Trojan horse that undermines public institutions from within via an interrelated action of officeholders. Even well-designed and legitimate institutions can veer off track if the officeholders fail through their conduct to uphold a public ethics of office accountability. This book offers an analytically rigorous definition of political corruption. It also investigates the common normative root of its two manifestations-corrupt individual character, and corrupt institutional mechanisms-as a relationally wrongful practice that consists of an unaccountable use of the power of office by officeholders in public institutions. From this perspective, political corruption must be understood from within, for it is an internal enemy of public institutions that can only be opposed by mobilizing the officeholders to remain accountable and mutually answerable for their conduct. In this way, anticorruption calls on the officeholders' responsibility to work together to maintain an interactively just institutional system.


Chapter 1: What Political Corruption is
Chapter 2: Political Corruption: Individual or Institutional?
Chapter 3: How is Political Corruption Wrong?
Chapter 4: Responsibility for Political Corruption
Chapter 5: Opposing Political Corruption

About the author: 

Emanuela Ceva is Professor of Political Theory at the University of Geneva. She has held fellowships at the universities of Oxford, Hitotsubashi (Tokyo), St Andrews, Montreal, Hamburg, Harvard, and KU Leuven. In 2018, she was awarded a Fulbright Research Scholarship in Philosophy. She works primarily on the normative theory of institutions with a focus on conflict and justice, democracy, and corruption. She is the author of Interactive Justice (Routledge, 2016), co-author of Is Whistleblowing a Duty? (Polity, 2018), and has published articles in such journals as The Journal of Political Philosophy, Social Philosophy & Policy, Politics, Philosophy & Economics, and Philosophy Compass.; Maria Paola Ferretti is Professor ad interim of Political Theory and Philosophy and a member of the Normative Orders Research Center at the Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main. Her research interests include contemporary liberalism, democratic participation, and the ethics of public policy. She is the author of The Public Perspective: Public Justification and the Ethics of Belief (Rowman and Littlefield).

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