1st Edition

The Conundrum of Corruption Reform for Social Justice

By Michael Johnston, Scott Fritzen Copyright 2021
    194 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    194 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book argues that it is time to step back and reassess the anti-corruption movement, which despite its many opportunities and great resources has ended up with a track record that is indifferent at best.

    Drawing on many years of experience and research, the authors critique many of the major strategies and tactics employed by anti-corruption actors, arguing that they have made the mistake of holding on to problematical assumptions, ideas, and strategies, rather than addressing the power imbalances that enable and sustain corruption. The book argues that progress against corruption is still possible but requires a focus on justice and fairness, considerable tolerance for political contention, and a willingness to stick with the reform cause over a very long process of thoroughgoing, sometimes discontinuous political change. Ultimately, the purpose of the book is not to tell people that they are doing things all wrong. Instead, the authors present new ways of thinking about familiar dilemmas of corruption, politics, contention, and reform.

    These valuable insights from two of the top thinkers in the field will be useful for policymakers, reform groups, grant-awarding bodies, academic researchers, NGO officers, and students.

    Part 1: After Thirty Years… What?

    1. A Conundrum, a Dominant Paradigm, and the Need for New Thinking

    2. Fighting Corruption Today

    Part 2: Misreadings and Misunderstandings

    3. Misreading the Nature of Corruption: Corruption in Monochrome

    4. Misreading the Corruption Cure: Interventions as Silver Bullets

    5. Misreading the Sources and Nature of Change: Development, Backwardness, and the Chimera of "Political Will"

    Part 3: Reform with the Future in Mind

    6. Who Does, and Who Should, Benefit from Reform? The Anti-Corruption Industry and its Limitations

    7. Reform, Power, and Justice

    8. So… What Should We Do?


    Michael Johnston is Charles A. Dana Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Colgate University, USA, and has been a consultant and lecturer for numerous government agencies and international organizations. He now lives in Austin, Texas.

    Scott A. Fritzen is Dean of the College of International Studies, and William J. Crowe, Jr. Chair in Geopolitics at the University of Oklahoma, USA.

    "Corruption has been part of human behaviour since the beginning. It is widely abhorred, yet we are unsure about what works and what does not in combatting corruption. This book by two very distinguished scholars tells us not to see corruption in monochrome and shows that there are no silver bullets. It does, however, demonstrate how corruption can be brought within limits, and through some great scenarios, provides means of analysing situations and problems, and acting on them." -- Adam Graycar, Professor of Public Policy, University of Adelaide, Australia

    "A superb political economy analysis, as well as a convincing plea for treating corruption as a matter of political development, to be solved only by the political empowerment of citizens. Insightful and historically mindful, this book should feature in every syllabus on democracy and civic education curricula."-- Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, Professor of Policy Analysis and Democracy at Hertie School, The Governance University in Berlin

    "Among those for whom the book is a must read are members of what the authors term the "anticorruption industry." And those who uttered the phrase "political will." No one should ever, ever again use it until they have read what the authors say about this much abused and misunderstood term. Those engaged in the fight against corruption, those teaching the next generation of corruption fighters, or those simply looking for an authoritative guide to the issue will want to make room on their shelf for what is sure to become a classic work on the subject." -- Richard E. Messick in an excerpt from a review on GAB | The Global Anticorruption Blog