Africa

A Culture of Corruption: Everyday Deception and Popular by Daniel Jordan Smith

By Daniel Jordan Smith

E-mails featuring an "urgent enterprise relationship" assist in making fraud Nigeria's greatest resource of overseas profit after oil. yet scams also are a principal a part of Nigeria's household cultural panorama. Corruption is so frequent in Nigeria that its voters name it easily "the Nigerian factor." prepared or unwilling members in corruption at each flip, Nigerians are deeply ambivalent approximately it--resigning themselves to it, justifying it, or complaining approximately it. they're painfully conscious of the wear and tear corruption does to their state and spot themselves as their very own worst enemies, yet they've been not able to forestall it. A tradition of Corruption is a profound and sympathetic try to comprehend the dilemmas ordinary Nigerians face on a daily basis as they struggle to get ahead--or simply survive--in a society riddled with corruption.

Drawing on firsthand adventure, Daniel Jordan Smith paints a shiny portrait of Nigerian corruption--of national gas shortages in Africa's oil-producing colossal, web cafés the place the younger release their e mail scams, checkpoints the place drivers needs to bribe police, bogus corporations that siphon improvement reduction, and homes painted with the fraud-preventive phrases "not for sale." it is a nation the place "419"--the variety of an antifraud statute--has turn into an inescapable a part of the tradition, and so common as a metaphor for deception that even a betrayed lover can say, "He performed me 419." it truly is most unlikely to appreciate Nigeria today--from vigilantism and resurgent ethnic nationalism to emerging Pentecostalism and accusations of witchcraft and cannibalism--without realizing the position performed by means of corruption and well known reactions to it.

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Additional info for A Culture of Corruption: Everyday Deception and Popular Discontent in Nigeria

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Stories about corruption dominate political and symbolic discourse in Nigeria. Everyday practices of corruption and the narratives of complaint they generate are primary vehicles through which Nigerians imagine and create the relationship between state and society. The contradictions of corruption both mirror and explain Nigerians' growing expectations and frustrated aspirations for democracy and development. Further, I contend that understanding corruption and its discontents is central to explaining and connecting a wide range of important contemporary social phenomena, such as resurgent ethnic nationalism, the rising popularity of horn-again Christianity, vio lent vigilantism, and a range of common yet seemingly bizarre fears and accusations regarding witchcraft, cannibalism, and other occult practices.

One of the most important contributions of Africanist political science and the emergent anthropology of corruption has been explaining how so-called corruption frequently occurs as the result of social strategies, cultural logics, and moral economies that assign values different from those assumed in the ideologies of the neoliberal bureaucratic state. Such perspectives otlcr insight into the social reproduction of corruption, including ordinary citizens' participation. Nevertheless, as I have come to recognize the intense frustration that average Nigerians feel about corruption, and as I have observed the extent and growth of popular discourses and social movements expressing these discontents, I have cone to believe that it is not sufficient to explain corruption in terms of local cultural logics and enduring African social institutions.

Rather, I examine the multiple ways that Nigerians employ the concept of corruption, and then use local categories and implied definitions to build an analysis that makes sense in light of what Nigerians do and say. Given that Nigerians see corruption at work not only in public offices but also in a wide range of commercial exchanges and interpersonal relations as well as in the realm of the supernatural, tying the definition of corruption too strictly to affairs of the state is overly limiting.

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