|Guanxi and Moral Articulation: Strategies of Corruption During China’s Anti-Corruption Drive
CHING WU LAKE LUI
|anti-corruption | China | corruption | Guanxi | morality
|Journal of Development Studies
What explains failures of large-scale anti-corruption campaigns in reducing corruption? Theories on developing country corruption see corruption as either a problem of weak formal institutions that incentivize naturally opportunistic actors or as remnants of traditional behaviors that persist despite changing modern state boundaries and regulations. Neither helps explain how participants continuously strategize to reframe and articulate the morality of those questionable transactions. This paper, through multi-year fieldwork and 34 interviews with business elites in China’s Guangdong province, examines how officials and businesses reconfigured their strategies of corruption during a recent anti-corruption campaign. We find that key actors engaged in ‘moral articulation’–devising moral repertoires and realigning common exchange practices to accepted meaning frames to safeguard interests and obfuscate their activities. In doing so, they challenged some aspects of state-initiated definitions of corruption while embracing others. Rather than eliciting conformity, the campaign prompted new ingenious action frames that helped internally justify corruption and allowed questionable exchange practices to continue on.
|Appears in Collections:
Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.