Social Norms, Corruption and Transcultural Interaction

in Theoria
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In this paper I will explore the relationship between social norms – in the sense of regularities in action which embody moral attitudes – and corruption, in contexts of transcultural interaction. There is a great deal of theoretical unclarity in relation to all the key notions involved, namely, social norms, corruption and transcultural interaction, and yet theoretical clarity is a necessary precursor to resolving the empirical and policy issues in this area, including empirical and policy issues of great importance for the future of many countries involved in the process of globalisation. Accordingly, in the first section of this paper I will spend some time on theoretical clarification.1 In the last section of the paper I will make some tentative suggestions concerning the connections between social norms and corruption in transcultural interactions, and illustrate these suggestions by use of two well-known transcultural corruption scandals, namely, Bhopal in India, and Lockheed in Japan. The informing idea here is that examination of such major scandals is likely to reveal underlying institutional conditions and processes which are conducive to corruption, but which go largely unnoticed in the normal course of events; it takes a major corruption scandal to bring these underlying conditions and processes to the surface.2

Theoria

A Journal of Social and Political Theory

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