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Beyond Anti-Corruptionism: Sociological Imagination and Comparative Study of Corruption*

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

Abstract This article outlines and illustrates a theoretical blueprint for comparative sociology of corruption. The author argues that existing cross-national studies of corruption, influenced by the global political movement for transparency, undermine fundamental sociological principles. At the same time, truly sociological studies of corruption are unfavorable to comparisons due to their emphasis on the singularity of exchange economies in non-Western societies. The author argues that there are three analytical foci that can help researchers resolve the tension between ‘insensitive’ large-N and ‘overly-sensitive’ small-N studies of corruption: the principle of social embeddedness, multiplicity of rationality, and localized power implications. A comparative study of university corruption in Post-Soviet Ukraine and Belarus is used to illustrate the strengths of the proposed analytical framework.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology University of Iowa


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