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Psychosocial Intervention

versión On-line ISSN 2173-4712versión impresa ISSN 1132-0559


LOPEZ-LOPEZ, Wilson et al. The role of political affiliation in the beliefs and discourses legitimising corruption. Psychosocial Intervention [online]. 2016, vol.25, n.3, pp.179-186. ISSN 2173-4712.

Corruption is defined as the abuse of power in order to obtain personal benefit. Central and South America, with the exception of Chile, Uruguay and the French Guiana, show high rates of corruption. This study sought to find the meanings that ordinary people attach to corruption as well as the relationship between their narratives and sociodemographic characteristics, such as sex and educational level, and political standpoints, such as their political party affiliation. A total of 325 people participated, 166 females aged 18-69 (M = 35.58, SD = 13.44) and 159 males aged 19-74 (M = 36.09, SD = 13.02). All education levels (primary, secondary, technical, university, postgraduate and none) were represented in the sample. Narratives were analysed via uni- and multidimensional methods and using the SPAD software programme. Variables used for the analysis were: meaning of corruption, corruption cases, seriousness of corruption (textual), and sex, educational level, socioeconomic level, political party affiliation (categorical). The primary results suggested that the meanings and definitions of corruption frequently feature the following verbs: to benefit, power, to obtain, to take advantage of, to steal, to bribe, and to threaten. Participants also mentioned acts of corruption that they learned about via mass media, and that involved the participation of government agents and large amounts of money. A third result was evidence that sociodemographic characteristics such as sex and education level are closely related with perceptions of what is and is not corrupt. Likewise, identification with a political party influences the judgments made on acts of corruption by both the opposing group and the group to which participants belong. We first discuss the gender difference in terms of the facts and meanings of corruption, and then we discuss how the facts of corruption (big and small) are perceived as serious or not depending on the education level of the citizens. Finally, we discuss how the attitudes and judgements expressed regarding an illegal act are considered more or less corrupt depending on the social or political group with which the citizens identify.

Palabras clave : Corruption; Meanings; Attitudes; Judgments; Sex; Education; Political affiliation.

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