Political Corruption: The Ghana Case

By Victor T. Le Vine | Go to book overview

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Political Corruption: An Outline of a Model

Analytic models are among the most useful scholarly tools to help social scientists find their way through the maze of political, social, and economic reality. Without such conceptual maps to guide them, investigators tend to lose their way in tracing complex processual or causal relationships, and to become mired in irrelevancies. The analytical model affords a further advantage in that it does not pretend to serve as a theory, although if carefully constructed it may aid in the development of theory. It is, then, only a topographic sketch of some social or political landscape, and it can easily be adapted and improved as available knowledge increases, or it can be altogether redrawn if the original outline proves misleading.

The present model, which is intended as no more than a preliminary sketch, describes a two-part process in the analysis of political corruption in Ghana. First, it isolates a set of related components that focus on the individual office-holder, his activities, and the matters with which he is concerned ("the core process"). Second, it deals with another set of components, deriving from the first, that operate on the larger system and subsystem levels ("the extended process"). We shall argue that the core process as described in this analysis is applicable to all instances of political corruption in all formal polities, whereas the extended process as described here applies substantially, but not necessarily exclusively, to Ghana.

The core process has five components: political office-holders, political goods, political resources, transaction relationships, and conversion networks. The extended process has two components: a culture of political corruption, and an informal polity. In the discussion to follow, the core process and the extended process are con

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