Is anticorruption neoliberal plot? Assessming the anticorruption project in Southeast Europe

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The consolidation of a global anticorruption regime can be seen has a combination of international policy instruments, ideologies about good and bad governance, and a whole set of promises, programmes and practices all intended to reduce corruption. After nearly two decades, we can give this assemblage a name: Anticorruptionism. This paper reviews the history of anticorruptionism and the current status of the anticorruption project in southeast Europe. It focuses on the ostensible issue of whether anticorruptionism has played any role in affecting, much less reducing, corruption in Southeast Europe. Alternatively a critical approach would see anticorruption as part of some other larger strategy connected with neoliberalism, market accommodation and new public management. In this second approach, corruption and anticorruption, instead of being a zero sum game, operate in two parallel worlds. If this is true, the evolution, flowering and eventual decline of anticorruptionism is not related to corruption. An understanding of the anticorruption industry and anticorruptionism can turn the discussion of “why corruption” on its head. Instead of seeing corruption as a cause or symptom of some governance problem, this paper focuses on ‘anticorruptionism’ as a problem, using comparisons with the evolution of ‘civil society’, ‘development’ and ‘human rights’
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014
EventEuropean Consortium for Political Research, 2014 - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 2014 Sep 32014 Sep 6


ConferenceEuropean Consortium for Political Research, 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Anthropology


  • socialanthropology
  • corruption
  • anticorruption
  • anticorruptionism
  • governance
  • Southeast Europe
  • Balkans
  • anticorruption industry


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