Corruption and anti-corruption: a folklore problem?
The Charbonneau Inquiry in Quebec, Canada, uncovered a complex nexus of collusion and corruption in the awarding of public works construction contracts. The aim of this article is to better illustrate and understand how corruption was perceived and collectively understood in the public works sector prior to the revelations of the Charbonneau Inquiry. This article argues that a ‘folklore’ of corruption was prevalent through which civil servants perceived the criminal phenomenon. This is achieved through a narrative analysis of two witness testimonies of civil engineers, who recounted their implication in the corrupt and collusive nexus in the city of Montreal during the commission’s hearings. This article makes a case for the importance of narratives in the study of corruption.
KeywordsCorruption folklore Anti-corruption prevention Perceptions Narrative stories
The author would like to thank Dr. Étienne Charbonneau and Dr. David Talbot for their helpful comments on an earlier version of the paper, as well as the École Nationale d’Administration Publique for financial support. The author would also like to thank the constructive comments of the two anonymous reviewers. All shortcomings belong to the author.
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