Wired to Fail: Virtue and Dysfunction in Baltimore’s Narrative
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How can public institutions achieve their goals and best nurture virtue in their members? In this chapter, I seek answers to these questions in a perhaps unlikely place: the television series The Wire. Known for its unflinching realism, the crime drama narrates the intertwined lives of police, criminals, politicians, teachers and journalists in drug-plagued urban Baltimore. Yet even in the thick and quick of institutional dysfunction the drama portrays, human virtue springs forth and institutions (despite themselves) sometimes perform their roles. I begin this exploration of The Wire by drawing on Montesquieu and other political theorists to evaluate the problems facing state institutions - problems of diversity and principle as much as selfishness and power-mongering. I then turn to the prospects for virtue within modern institutions, developing and applying the system of Alasdair MacIntyre and paying particular attention to the role of narrative in cementing and integrating virtue.
The Contribution of Fiction to Organizational Ethics Research in Ethical Issues in Organizations
© Emerald 2014. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Police Administration, Procedures and Practice
Professional Ethics (incl. police and research ethics)