The Pleasures of Corruption: Desire and Discipline in Ghanaian Political Culture

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This article juxtaposes popular understandings of corruption in public discourse with official practices of anticorruption in the institutions of the state in Ghana. Although global disciplinary campaigns against corruption target selfishness and greed, local practices of anticorruption intersect with affectively engaged social desires. These social desires are profoundly shaped by local notions of articulation, pressure, and flow, and they are mobilized by communal desire as well as material. I examine two distinct conceptualizations of corruption in popular media that illustrate the link between corruption and socially embedded desire and then move behind the scenes to the realm of corruption investigations at the Ghanaian Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

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