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Corruption as an Empty Signifier

Politics and Political Order in Africa

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Lucy Koechlin

Corruption as an Empty Signifier critically explores the ways in which corruption in Africa has been equated with African politics and political order, and offers a novel approach to understanding corruption as a potentially emancipatory discourse of political transformation.
Conventionally, both academic literature as well as development policies depict corruption as the lynchpin of politics in Africa, locking African societies into political orders which subvert democratic change. Drawing on the findings of a case study of the construction industry in Tanzania, Lucy Koechlin conceptualises corruption as a signifier enabling, rather than preventing, social actors to articulate democratic claims. She provides compelling arguments for a more sophisticated understanding of and empirical attentiveness to emancipatory change in African political orders.
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Series:

Lucy Koechlin