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Dieter Haller

This essay explores what Ethnologie (social and cultural anthropology) can contribute to the study of corruption. It firstly lays bare basic approaches of the study of corruption by conventional political and social sciences and influential political agents such as Transparency International. In these approaches, corruption is shaped by a variety of assumptions: that corruption takes place between the public and a private sphere, that it is an indicator of instability and that it is morally reprehensibly and therefore a clandestine activity. The essay expands on these assumptions from the anthropological point of view, thereby detecting blind spots in the conventional approaches. Finally, by discussing four examples, the essay seeks to show how Ethnologie can enrich other approaches to social scientific corruption research with a genuine contribution.