A Sick Body
A Sick Body
Corruption and Anticorruption in Early Modern Spain
At the heart of this chapter is the connection that exists between anticorruption measures and power politics. It shows how the resistance of Spanish elites—the same elites whom the king relied on to keep kingdom and empire together—was one of the main reasons why anticorruption measures in sixteenth- and early-seventeenth-century Spain were ultimately ineffective. Spanish kings were reluctant to antagonize these elites for fear of creating more serious and damaging political problems. However, the lively debate about corruption could also be seen as an attempt to better understand and control it. Of the various administrative mechanisms available to control royal ministers and administrators, the authors pay particular attention to the so-called visitas and residencias: audits of institutions or individuals conducted during or at the end of their terms of office.
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