Corruption, democracy and the human condition

Luis Angosto-Ferrandez (University of Sydney)
Francisca de la Maza (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile)
Ligertwood 214 Piper Alderman Room
Start time:
12 December, 2017 at 15:30
Session slots:

Short abstract:

Debates on the future of democracy are inextricably linked to the discussion of corruption. We welcome ethnographic and/or theoretical examinations of such relation as well as analyses of conceptions of the human condition embedded in different understandings of what causes 'corrupted democracies'

Long abstract:

In the current global conjuncture democracy is under strain. Rather than a consolidated political model, democracy appears to be a fragile practice. Its supporters want to recover and materialise the democratic ideal, whereas detractors despise it as unrealistic or unattainable. At any rate, few people negate the crisis of democracy, and many associate it to forms of (political and economic) corruption - including 'state corruption'. In this panel we invite ethnographic and/or theoretical examinations of such uneasy relation between democracy and corruption, as well as analyses of the conceptions of 'the human condition' embedded in different understandings of the causes behind what many people denominate 'corrupted democracies'. On this topic, what do anthropologists find in their field sites? Do people present corruption as the result of specific forms of organising social institutions? Do they consider it as a natural outcome of the human condition? And how do people conceptualise what constitutes corruption? Does it have to do with private behaviours with public political impact or does it refer to institutional processes? Does it have to do with particular economic systems or is it merely an expression of unbridled individual interests? How does corruption affect different notions of democracy and the contemporary state? This panel will gather presentations addressing these and other questions as bases to discuss different understandings of democracy and corruption and to generate ethnographic grounding and anthropological theory for such understandings.