Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Corruption implies the disregard of or inability to meet an established norm, whether moral, economic, linguistic, sexual, or political. In contemporary political discourse, corruption most often refers to the exploitation of public office or trust for private benefit, such as bribe-taking by politicians in exchange for the promotion of policies antithetical to the common good. In the history of political thought, however, corruption has a broader range of meanings. Corruption refers, on the one hand, to the institutional process of constitutional decay and transformation, and hence it is a key term in the classical vocabulary of virtue for understanding and explaining the long-term historical development of regimes. On the other hand, corruption refers more specifically to the actions and values that collectively constitute the catalyst for constitutional decay. At the specific level, corruption has been defined and interpreted in many ways, depending on the interpretation of the virtue it The ...