CEPS SEMINARS SERIES IN ETHICS AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY: Book workshop with E. Ceva and M. P. Ferretti, Political Corruption: The Internal Enemy of Public Institutions

daniele santoro's picture
May 19, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Government and Public Service, Law and Legal History, Philosophy, Political Science, Journalism and Media Studies



Book workshop with Emanuela Ceva and Maria Paola Ferretti on their latest book, Political Corruption: The Internal Enemy of Public Institutions, Oxford University Press 2021


Discussants: Camila Vergara (Columbia University);  Mark Warren (University of British Columbia)


Wednesday, 19 May 2021 | 4:30 pm–7 pm Western European Summer Time | 5:30 pm–8 pm Central European Summer Time | Zoom



From the spread of kleptocracy in Venezuela at the expense of the country's economy, to President Trump's appointment of family members to high-ranking White House positions, to President Lukashenko's desperate stranglehold on power in Belarus, across the world political corruption is rampant—indeed practically too ubiquitous to keep track of. As these examples illustrate, political corruption is often associated to a variety of instances of abuse of power that either derive from a vicious trait of individual character, or develop within deeply dysfunctional institutions. To Emanuela Ceva and Maria Paola Ferretti, however, this piecemeal view is inadequate: individual and institutional instances of political corruption have a common root that we can understand only by treating corruption and anticorruption as a matter of a public ethics of office. Political corruption is the Trojan horse that undermines public institutions from within via an interrelated action of officeholders. Even well-designed and legitimate institutions can veer off track if the officeholders fail through their conduct to uphold a public ethics of office accountability.

This book offers an analytically rigorous definition of political corruption. It also investigates the common normative root of its two manifestations—corrupt individual character, and corrupt institutional mechanisms—as a relationally wrongful practice that consists of an unaccountable use of the power of office by officeholders in public institutions. From this perspective, political corruption must be understood from within, for it is an internal enemy of public institutions that can only be opposed by mobilizing the officeholders to remain accountable and mutually answerable for their conduct. In this way, anticorruption calls on the officeholders' responsibility to work together to maintain an interactively just institutional system.




The Seminar Series in Ethics and Political Philosophy is a research oriented initiative hosted by the Center for Ethics, Politics, and Society at the University of Minho, whose aim is to discuss works in progress of both established and younger scholars working in the fields of ethics, social and political philosophy, political and social theory.


The seminars are open to everyone, but pre-registration is required. To register, visit:





After registering, we will send a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting and the pre-circulated material when available. A 30% discount code for the book purchase is available for registered participants.

For inquiries, contact the organizers at dsantoro@ilch.uminho.pt or gballacci@ilch.uminho.pt.

Contact Info: 

Daniele Santoro

Centre for Ethics, Politics, and Society, 
ILCH - University of Minho,
R. da Universidade, 4704-553 
Braga, Portugal 

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