en
Scientific article
Book review
English

[Review of:] Sparling Robert Alan(2019). Political Corruption: the Underside of Civic Morality. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press

ContributorsCeva, Emanuelaorcid
Published inPolitical Theory
Publication date2020
Abstract

Political corruption is a contested concept. Both terms in the concept are the object of controversies in political theory, and concern what corruption is and how it is a politically relevant phenomenon. Political corruption has been contested across time, space, cultures, and philosophical traditions. Usually, political corruption is assumed to involve an exchange between a private corruptor and a public official who pursues her personal interest by abusing her power of office. While this account may be true with respect to some such instances as bribery, some significant uncertainties affect its plausibility. Practices such as patronage or state capture might escape this account either because they do not involve a corruptor or because the corrupted officer does not pursue her personal interest but, say, that of her party or faction. Interestingly, despite or perhaps in reason of this semantic uncertainty, political corruption is generally perceived as a disease of the public function, something which any sensible political theory of the good state should want to avoid. Why is such a negative intuition about the nature of political corruption so widespread? A growing debate in political theory is now starting to inquire into the exact nature of the wrongness of political corruption. In this timely book, Robert Sparling engages with such an important but still developing debate.

Keywords
  • Political corruption
  • political theory
  • power of office
  • bribery
  • abuse of power
  • patronage
  • state capture
  • public institutions
Citation (ISO format)
CEVA, Emanuela. [Review of:] Sparling Robert Alan(2019). Political Corruption: the Underside of Civic Morality. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. In: Political Theory, 2020. doi: 10.1177/0090591720914409
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Article (Published version)
Identifiers
ISSN of the journal0090-5917
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