Cultures of Corruption - An Empirical Approach to the Understanding of Crime
2007, Tänzler, Dirk
Corruption A Cultural Lag?
Eastern and South-Eastern European societies are said to have a culture of corruption with roots back to the time of the socialist rule or even to the Oriental despotism (Wittvogel 1973). It seems as if this tradition has been overcome in the post-socialist transition. The nevertheless still existing and flourishing corruption has changed form and function. A shift from occasional petty corruption to structural large-scale corruption took place in these countries as a consequence of the modernisation of their societies. The obvious culture of corruption as a popular practice in everyday life disappeared and is substituted by hidden rent-seeking techniques, used by the economical and the political elite. In the context of sociological modernisation theory this phenomenon usually is interpreted as a symptom terminated to the passage from tradition to modernity and disappearing after the implementation of modern economic and political institutions.
On the other side modern Western countries like Germany and Great Britain are taken as proper societies without corruption. This perception is true in relation to the petty corruption in everyday life. To bribe a policeman or an official with the intention not to lose or to get a licence is neither usual nor rational in theses societies, because the relation between the state institutions and the people are based on trust in the proper functioning of the legal practices. But nevertheless there is hidden and endemic structural corruption, as everybody knows, in the construction industry and in the public health system for example. Here corruption is accepted. In other words: Corruption is not perceived as such, i.e. as a crime. In fact, one can say that the perception or better non-perception of corruption is a condition of its social practice. Corruption is primarily a problem of definition that differs from time to time, from place to place, and even between social (sub-)groups of a single society. Therefore we speak of cultures of corruption which, in consequence, raises a problem of understanding and the necessity of a cultural approach in the scientific study of the phenomenon. To view corruption
as a cultural problem is not merely an academic question of theorizing but of great practicalrelevance for the fight against this crime. The prevention policies that have been developed by the EU and implemented so far within individual member countries have in general been characterised by legislative, administrative and police force measures. These are based on a definition of corruption prevention developed in political and administrative institutions thatrely on a top-down procedure for its implementation.
Following the preceding arguments this concept of corruption seems to be insufficient both in the theoretical as well as the practical sense. To widen the scope of how to define and approach the problem an international research consortium started a comparative cultural study on Corruption in Europe. The project proceeds from the assumption that the considerably variable perceptions of corruption, determined as they are by cultural dispositions , have significant influence on a country s respective awareness of the problem and thereby on the success of any preventative measures. For this reason, the project purports to conduct not an inquiry into the nature of corruption as such , but rather into the perceptions of corruption held by political and administrative decision-makers in specific regions and cultures, those held by
actors representing various institutions and authorities, and above all by the citizens and the media in European societies.
As a consequence, the research has a dual focus: It operates both at the formal, institutional and at the informal, practical level. Analysing the counter-corruption policies and the socialcultural contexts they work in, the researchers investigate the fit between institutionalised prevention measures and how these are perceived in daily practice , as well as how EU candidate
countries and EU member countries as a result handle the issue of corruption. In a finalstep, it intends to make specific recommendations for readjusting this fit and to investigate which role the media play within this process in each individual country. Media do not have only a passive technical role in neutrally transmitting information. In modern societies, media have substantial influence on the social patterns of perception and recognition, for example on the definition of problems like crime and corruption. Hence, another crucial goal of the research project is to demonstrate that the media must be recognized as a powerful instrument in combating corruption.
Perceptions of corruption and their relevance to anti-corruption measures : Research findings of the EU-Project 'Crime and Culture'
2011, Giannakopoulos, Angelos, Maras, Konstadinos, Tänzler, Dirk
The article aims at presenting summary results and main insights on perceptions of corruption elaborated within the EU-research project ‘Crime and Culture’ (Sixth Framework Programme of the European Commission, 2006-2009). In order to optimise corruption prevention in the European Union, policymakers should pay closer attention to how corruption is viewed in individual member states and candidate countries. A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is unlikely to be effective. Instead, prevention policies should be adapted to fit prevailing socio-cultural conditions and take into account how such policies are perceived in daily practice. Efforts to encourage rule-conforming behaviour should be viewed as evolutionary learning processes. The article identifies, first of all, patterns of perception and interpretation of corruption in seven countries: Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Croatia, Greece, Germany and the United Kingdom. In a second step, these countries are grouped into three representative clusters: Germany and Great Britain, representing modern western European societies (democracy, rule of law, market economy), Greece and Turkey, representing partially modernised countries with a paternalistic state, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria, representing post-socialist transformation countries. Therein, cluster analysis is oriented to common patterns of perceptions of corruption between countries as well as to the particular ‘paths of modernity’ of the single countries. Against this background the article finally sets the frame within which policy suggestions could be formulated.
'ALAC' (Advocacy and Legal Advice Centres) : Ein innovatives Instrument von "Transparency International" gegen Korruption durch aktive Bürgerbeteiligung und die Bedeutung der Kooperation zwischen zivilgesellschaftlichen Organisationen und Sozialwissenschaft
2009, Giannakopoulos, Angelos, Keller-Herzog, Angela, Tänzler, Dirk
ALACs (Advocacy and Legal Advice Centres) : an Innovative Instrument for the Promotion of Participation and Citizenship in Europe by "Transparency International" and the Significance of the Co-operation between Non-Governmental Organisations and Social Science
2008, Giannakopoulos, Angelos, Keller-Herzog, Angela, Tänzler, Dirk