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Response to Eric Uslaner's review of A Culture of Corruption: Everyday Deception and Popular Discontent in Nigeria

  • Daniel Jordan Smith
Extract

I am grateful for Eric Uslaner's thoughtful review of my book. The exchange between us highlights for me, above all, the benefits of reading and conversing across disciplinary boundaries. Uslaner correctly notes that my book refers relatively little to a vast political science literature on corruption. My aim was to understand corruption in Nigeria as it is experienced by ordinary citizens, rather than to contribute to Western analytical debates about (possibly) more universal aspects of corruption and its consequences. But I certainly acknowledge and accept that my own analysis and understanding (as well as the larger contribution of my book) would have benefited from a deeper engagement with the political science literature on corruption. I would quibble with his contrast between anthropologists' “stories” and political scientists' “data.” To me, real people's lives and narratives are among the most powerful data in the social sciences—but that is why I am an anthropologist.

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Perspectives on Politics
  • ISSN: 1537-5927
  • EISSN: 1541-0986
  • URL: /core/journals/perspectives-on-politics
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