Getting Away With It: Corruption, Moral Indignation and the Limits of Legal Accountability

Ciarán O'Kelly, Melvin J. Dubnick

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Abstract

In this paper we address the idea of ‘legal but corrupt’ through a discussion of two cases: abuse scandals in the Irish Catholic Church and the financial services industry in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis. We identify two important dynamics that generated the scandals: that they were driven by strong and stable groups existing within a peculiar kind of ‘accountability space’ that we describe as ‘monastic’ and that those groups persisted with tacit or explicit support from the state. ‘Legal but corrupt’ is, we argue, a matter of insider incomprehension sustained by the ceding of sovereignty over some aspect of social or economic life.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sep 2014

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