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NCJ Number: 64385 Find in a Library
Title: STUDY OF CORRUPTION
Journal: POLITICAL SCIENCE QUARTERLY  Volume:72  Issue:4  Dated:(DECEMBER 1957)  Pages:502-514
Author(s): E L MCKITRICK
Corporate Author: Acad of Political Science
United States of America
Date Published: 1957
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: Acad of Political Science
New York, NY 10025
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A THEORETICAL MODEL FOR THE STUDY OF POLITICAL MACHINES AND THEIR FUNCTION IN AMERICAN SOCIETY MUST ENCOMPASS A HISTORICAL DIMENSION FOR ASSESSING CHANGE. AN EARLY STUDY IS ANALYZED FOR ITS RELEVANCE TO CURRENT CONDITIONS.
Abstract: THE MODEL, DEVISED BY R. K. MERTON, USES AN ARRANGEMENT OF VALID CATEGORIES BASED ON CONDITIONS OF AMERICAN MACHINE POLITICS OF 50 YEARS AGO. A STRUCTURAL CONTEXT WAS ESTABLISHED: A GENERAL SETTING IN WHICH THE DIFFUSION AND FRAGMENTATION OF POWER, CHARACTERISTIC OF ELECTED, DEMOCRATIC OFFICIALDOM, CREATED A NEED FOR AN ALTERNATIVE FOCUS OF POWER (FILLED BY THE BOSS ON HIS POLITICAL MACHINE). FOUR MAJOR FUNCTIONS WERE THEN ENUMERATED, WHICH THE MACHINE SYSTEM PERFORMED FOR ITS CONSTITUENTS: (1) WELFARE SERVICES FOR THE POOR AND POWERLESS, (2) PROTECTION AND ASSISTANCE TO BUSINESSMEN VIS A VIS THE OFFICIAL REGULATIONS, (3) PROVISION OF AN UPWARD AVENUE OF SOCIAL MOBILITY FOR UNDERPRIVILEGED GROUPS, AND (4) EXERCISE OF CONTROL OVER ILLEGAL UNDERGROUND OPERATIONS. EACH FUNCTION PRODUCED A CORRESPONDING FORM OF CORRUPTION: VOTE BUYING, GRAFT, UNQUESTIONING GROUP LOYALTY, AND KICKBACK PAYMENTS. QUESTIONING THE RELEVANCE OF THIS PATTERN TODAY RAISES ISSUES ABOUT THE CURRENT OPERATION OF POLITICAL MACHINES AND THE KIND OF LOYALTIES THEY STILL COMMAND. ANOTHER QUESTION RAISED IS WHETHER THE REFORM MOVEMENT FUNCTIONED TO DESTROY THE MACHINE OR TO REENVIGORATE IT. SPECIFIC HISTORIC ILLUSTRATIONS SHOW THAT VICTORIES OF THE REFORM TICKET CAUSED REAFFIRMATION OF GROUP SOLIDARITY WITH THE MACHINE, AND THAT THE MACHINE UTILIZED CONNECTIONS WITH REFORM POLITICIANS FOR ITS OWN ENDS. STUDIES OF LONG-TERM CHANGE CAN BE CARRIED DIRECTLY INTO THE FUNCTIONS ENUMERATED BY THE CONCEPTUAL SCHEME. THE NEED FOR PROTECTION OF UNASSIMILATED AND UNDERPRIVILEGED GROUPS HAS BEEN ERODED BY ASSIMILATION AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF OFFICIAL WELFARE SERVICES. SIMILARLY, OFFICIAL PUBLIC CONTROLS HAVE BEEN EXTENDED INTO EVERY ASPECT OF BUSINESS, WEAKENING THE OLD PATTERNS OF MACHINE FUNCTIONS. DRAWING A PATTERN OF CORRUPTION IN RELATION TO SOCIAL MOBILITY MIGHT REVEAL NOT ONLY THE OBVIOUS SHIFTS BUT A WHOLE CYCLE OF ENERGY, WHEREBY AN UNDERPRIVILEGED ETHNIC GROUP EVOLVED THROUGH STATUS GRADATION IN THE UNDERWORLD TO SOCIAL ACCEPTABILITY NEW PREDICTIONS SHOULD CENTER ON A NEW MOBILITY CYCLE FOR ETHNIC GROUPS STILL DEPRIVED BUT RISING THROUGH THE PROCESS OF ASSIMILATION AND SOCIALIZATION, HISTORICALLY CHARACTERIZED BY BOTH VITALITY AND CORRUPTION. FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED. (MRK)
Index Term(s): Bribery; Citizen crime tolerance; Graft; Group behavior; Kickbacks; Organized crime; Political influences; Services; Social change; Social classes; Social organization; Socialization
Note: PAPER READ AT THE 33RD ANNUAL INSTITUTE OF THE SOCIETY FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, JUNE 1, 1956
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64385

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