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Leadership Succession and the High Drama of Political Conduct: Corruption Stories from Samoa

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Politicians in the Pacific Islands are regularly accused of corruption and yet, paradoxically, they also tend to be the most vocal public commentators when incidents of misconduct arise, with accusation and counter-accusation all part of the political theatre. Given their central role in these debates, we ask how politicians interpret political conduct. Based on interviews and public comments, we explore the meanings and beliefs that politicians in Samoa ascribe to three interrelated cases where the actions of their colleagues are under scrutiny. We find a series of divergent and conflicting views. We add to the literature on corruption, both in the Pacific and more generally, by showing how questions about conduct not only vary according to context but are invariably rooted in the cut and thrust of everyday politics, which in this case is dominated by the question of leadership succession.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2014

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