Students of international relations need a broader analytical vocabulary in order to acknowledge and probe more deeply the ethical and practical dilemmas posed by corruption. The concept of corruption requires a corresponding language of virtue in order to be fully meaningful, and the language of virtue in turn enriches our conception of agency in international politics. Mlada Bukovansky paper focuses on important dimensions of older discourses about corruption, drawn primarily from the work of Aristotle, Machiavelli, and Adam Smith, in order to amplify the scholarly resonance of the problem of corruption in our own time, as it bears directly on fundamental problems of human agency and collective action in the face of pressing global problems such as climate change and global financial regulation.
Mlada Bukovansky is Professor of Government at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Her publications include Legitimacy and Power Politics: The American and French Revolutions in International Political Culture (Princeton 2002); articles in International Organization, Review of International Studies, Review of International Political Economy, and International Relations, as well as a number of chapters in edited volumes; and the book Special Responsibilities: Global Problems and American Power (Cambridge 2012), co-authored with Ian Clark, Robyn Eckersley, Richard Price, Chris Reus-Smit, and Nicholas Wheeler. Her current work focuses on corruption and virtue ethics.