Can civic nationalism reduce corruption? Transnational and translocal insights from Solomon Islands

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    Some scholars and practitioners argue that the key to addressing corruption in poor countries lies in citizens eschewing patronage ties and embracing civic nationalism. This view has led some to suggest that a corruption-busting nationalist sentiment can be encouraged by exposing elites from poor countries to the liberal values of relatively well-governed rich ones. However, thus far few scholars have attempted to understand the complex ways that different types of mobility shape perceptions about nationalism and corruption. This article examines the role mobilities play in shaping attitudes towards nationalism and corruption amongst stakeholders connected to anti-corruption reforms in the Pacific Island nation of Solomon Islands. It finds that highly mobile elites framed corruption and nationalism through two distinct concepts: transnationalism (conceiving the world as comprising territorially divided states) and translocalism (which focuses on local connections developed through [im]mobilities). Transnational framings, shaped by international travel and international indices, stressed the importance of promoting civic nationalism to fight corruption. Translocal framings, reinforced by everyday experiences, were more sceptical of both anti-corruption and nation- and sate-building efforts. Findings provide insights into why anti-corruption reform in post-colonial contexts are so challenging, and the potential for reimagining the relationship between nationalism and anti-corruption.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-10
    JournalPolitical Geography
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


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