Accountability (Political Science)

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  • There are two contradicting views of the origin of this concept. Some scholars argue that accountability is a product of classical democracy dating back to the 8th century BCE. The contrasting view contends that classical democracy itself arose from a concept of accountability that has been traced back to the 5th-century BCE Athenian legal institution of euthyna, literally translated as “the action of setting straight” (von Dornum, 1997). Euthyna was a public procedural mechanism for all officials, which provided the citizens with a full public account of all actions taken by any official. If auditors suspected wrongfulness on the part of the official, sanctions would be imposed.

    Modern discourse on accountability posits itself in democracy and, within it, presumes a legitimate relationship between two actors, be ...

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