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The Discourse of Corruption in Modern Political Thought

Dates:
  • Wed 25 May 2016 17.00 - 19.00
  Add to Calendar 2016-05-25 17:00 2016-05-25 19:00 Europe/Paris The Discourse of Corruption in Modern Political Thought

In the last several decades there has been a great proliferation of work in the social sciences on the subject of political corruption, but researchers have often floundered on establishing a precise definition of the term. The most widely used definition (employed, say, by the World Bank), “the abuse of public office for private gain,” raises more philosophical difficulties than it resolves, and even a cursory examination of the history of the concept’s deployment reveals an enormous variety of views concerning the ethics of office, the lines demarcating public and private, and the nature of civic integrity, purity or health.

This talk will examine the role intellectual history can play in coming to terms with this highly contestable concept. It will argue that there is a family resemblance between radically diverse uses of the metaphor of political corruption, and it will suggest that contemporary corruption discourse is beset by a paradox that has its analogue in some of the more important and influential political thinkers in the modern canon.

Sala Triaria, Villa Schifanoia DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala Triaria, Villa Schifanoia

In the last several decades there has been a great proliferation of work in the social sciences on the subject of political corruption, but researchers have often floundered on establishing a precise definition of the term. The most widely used definition (employed, say, by the World Bank), “the abuse of public office for private gain,” raises more philosophical difficulties than it resolves, and even a cursory examination of the history of the concept’s deployment reveals an enormous variety of views concerning the ethics of office, the lines demarcating public and private, and the nature of civic integrity, purity or health.

This talk will examine the role intellectual history can play in coming to terms with this highly contestable concept. It will argue that there is a family resemblance between radically diverse uses of the metaphor of political corruption, and it will suggest that contemporary corruption discourse is beset by a paradox that has its analogue in some of the more important and influential political thinkers in the modern canon.


Location:
Sala Triaria, Villa Schifanoia

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Lecture

Contact:
Nicholas Mithen (EUI - Department of History and Civilization) - Send a mail

Speaker:
Robert Sparling (University of Ottawa)
 
 

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