Corruption in cultural context: Contradictions within the Korean tradition

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Journal article
Dalton Bronwen 2005, 'Corruption in cultural context: Contradictions within the Korean tradition', Springer, vol. 43, no. 4-5, pp. 237-262.
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Appreciating the many, varied and sometimes ambiguous elements within what may be called 'Korean culture' is crucial to a balanced assessment of its relationship to corruption. In particular, it is important to recognise its multivocality and thus its paradoxical relationship with its environment, its tendency to be shaped as well as shape modem institutions and the degree to which it is open to interpretation and contestation and thus to being compromised or altered to meet historical contingencies or political objectives. This approach provides the basis for the type of cultural analysis that can identify some ofthe cultural influences not only on some forms of corruption but on how a society understands the norms of good governance and what constitutes a deviation from these norms and thus what political corruption involves and why. It may also help us to understand how corruption can be disguised or justified within the Korean context.
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