Corruption and Power: Tracing the Elusive Borders of Political Corruption. a Comparative Study between Germany and Japan

Monday, 16 July 2018: 16:15
Oral Presentation
Angelos GIANNAKOPOULOS, University of Dortmund, Germany
The aim of the present comparative study is to examine legal, institutional but also cultural preconditions of political corruption in Germany and Japan against the background of the legal framework for party financing. The study derives from research carried out in an EU-founded project within the Framework Programmes of the European Commission. By focusing on severe party financing scandals in the most recent history of both countries we shall show the extent to which certain ways of understanding and patterns of perceiving corruption in general and political corruption, in particular, play a role in the violation of legal rules and thus lead to ‘deviant political conduct’. Both countries demonstrate marked similarities when it comes to their historical, economic, and political development, in particular after Second World War and their standing as western, democratic nations. Nevertheless, they are two countries with different cultural traditions, which add a special dimension to the comparison. This dimension consists in identifying the relationship between the institutionalised fight against corruption and patterns of perceiving corruption and the influence of the latter on corruption prevention. Accordingly, the main objective of the proposed paper is to complement the structural analysis on the causes and effects of political corruption with the everyday cultural understanding of corruption of involved political actors. This is a crucial analytical prerequisite, in view of the assumption that not only systemic imperatives and socio-political scope conditions, but also mentality-related perceptions as well as action- and value-orientations can have a structuring impact when it comes to corrupt conduct. Methodologically seen, the empirical study is based on a computerised content analysis of different types of documents including parliamentary debates on party financing scandals, print media reporting on major scandals and semi-structured interviews with politicians representing both political parties in power as well as those in opposition.