n Journal of Public Administration and Development Alternatives (JPADA) - The nexus of corruption and social pathologies : cancer/HIV/AIDS as metaphors for organised crime

Volume 4 Number 2
  • ISSN : 2415-5446


In recent decades, corruption has come to epitomise the framing of national and global agendas. However, due to its nature and purpose, corruption has become complex and elusive to demystify and prevent given that the effectiveness of institutional interventions has come to depend closely on strong societal perceptions thereof. As a result, corruption has been variously dramatised through social pathology metaphors that are assumed to command strong societal perceptions such as cancer, pandemic, epidemic and mumps, among others. These metaphors have become useful tools for highlighting the systemic dangers and destructive nature of corruption to the societal fabric. This article discusses the nexus of corruption and social pathologies with specific reference to the cancer and HIV/AIDS metaphors that are commonly used to describe organised crime. The article argues that the complexity and elusiveness of corruption is created by the fact that intervention mechanisms for its prevention are generally and, sometimes, exclusively developed and implemented by public sector practitioners and politicians who may often be almost always at the forefront of such social ills. For this reason, the possibility for the prevention of corruption relies heavily on the strength of societal perceptions and action. This article concludes, therefore, that strong societal perceptions of corruption should be consciously established and sustained through metaphors that dramatise this phenomenon in familial terms.

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