ANTHRCUL 298 - Topics in Sociocultural Anthropology
Section: 101 Backdoor Dealing: Cross-Cultural Studies in Corruption
Term: SP 2010
Subject: Anthropology, Cultural (ANTHRCUL)
Department: LSA Anthropology
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

What exactly is corruption? Is it the same everywhere? Does it always have the same consequences? This seminar considers corruption from an anthropological perspective. Rather than attempt a universal definition of corruption, we follow ethnographic accounts from India, China, Brazil, Russia, Nigeria and the United States to see how it is variously practiced, conceived, and critiqued. Our readings, documentaries, and films privilege the viewpoints and experiences of the protagonists themselves. Analytically, we explore the idea that where one finds corruption, one finds a set of moral beliefs through which it is legitimated or contested. This is true of backdoor dealings on the street as well as in the highest levels of business and government. What do these beliefs tell us about social relationships, struggles, and desires in these places? How are social imaginaries produced through critiques of corruption? In addressing these questions, we will see that corruption is not always detrimental to social equality, political participation, and economic growth, as we might suspect. Indeed, corrupt practices may bring these about in particular instances. Yet corruption is just as often implicated in violence, poverty, and disenfranchisement. What accounts for these different consequences? Finally, we examine the dynamics by which corruption is used to label others, even though it is present everywhere. By tracing the tentacles of corruption through history and across continents, we expose the conceits behind constructions of "us and them", "first and third worlds", and "modern and traditional". Students will be graded on class participation, short response papers, and take-home essay exams. There are no prerequisites.

ANTHRCUL 298 - Topics in Sociocultural Anthropology
Schedule Listing
101 (LEC)
WF 10:00AM - 1:00PM
103 (LEC)
TuTh 10:00AM - 1:00PM
104 (LEC)
MW 10:00AM - 1:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 0521627435
Russia's economy of favours : Blat, networking and informal exchange., Author: Alena V. Ledeneva., Publisher: Cambridge University Press 1. publ. 1998
ISBN: 9780691136479
A culture of corruption : everyday deception and popular discontent in Nigeria, Author: Daniel Jordan Smith., Publisher: Princeton University Press 2008
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