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Corruption Mechanisms and Anti-Corruption Agenda in the Digital Age: Continuity and Change

Civil Society
Democracy
Governance
Media
Political Parties
Internet
Corruption
Big Data
S19
Roxana Bratu
University of Sussex
SOFIA WICKBERG
Sciences Po Paris
Ilona Wysmułek
Polish Academy of Sciences

Endorsed by the ECPR Standing Group on (Anti-)Corruption and Integrity


Abstract

While social movements are increasingly denouncing corruption, the first decades of the 21st century have also shaken many institutions and beliefs that liberal societies, and by extension anticorruption efforts, are built on. Populism and nationalism are weakening liberal internationalism. New existential threats such as climate change and terrorism are taking the focus away from democratization and fight against corruption, or at least they change how we view it. Public sector reforms increasingly blur the line between what is public and what is private. On top of that, digital transformations profoundly impact bureaucratic arrangements, business activities, models of action and citizens engagement practices. In this new political and social realities of globalized and highly digitized societies, novel forms of corruption appear alongside with the old ones. The rapid technological innovation contributes to the change in corruption and informal practices, potentially impacting also its causes and consequences. These new complexities are coupled with ever ascending corruption trends and a puzzling increase of perceived corruption in various countries despite the proliferation of anti-corruption measures. At the same time, technological developments, together with data availability trends and new computational capacities opens new possibilities for researching corruption and developing evidence-based anti-corruption policies. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and e-governance seem as promising yet still underexplored tools on the way to transparency, accountability and integrity. With increasing evidence on little effectiveness of traditional anti-corruption public policies based on extensive regulation, strict compliance and tough enforcement, the critical reflection on extant theoretical and empirical approaches is necessary. It requires scholars and practitioners alike to reconsider the very meaning of corruption and integrity, their mechanisms and manifestations in the public and private spheres. It also calls for re-examining the relationship between political parties, public’s trust in state institutions, national governments and parliaments which are at the very core of representative democracy. Political party financing and elective democracy have started to be questioned heavily in the era of fake news. Furthermore, the role of civil society in tackling corruption needs to be unpacked. Bottom up forms of mobilization via digital media have increased in frequency but there is little knowledge about the challenges, opportunities and usage of algorithmic automation and artificial intelligence by grassroots social movements actors. The changing social reality offers new possibilities but also demands critical reflections on current and future approaches to concepts and methods of researching corruption mechanisms and anti-corruption agenda. This Section is open to contributions that investigate corruption and anti-corruption in the contemporary context via theoretical innovations, methodological developments and empirical inquiry. Potential Panel themes and Chairs of this Section are: 1. Corruption and Integrity: Conceptual Challenges. Panel Chair: Fernanda De Figueiredo 2. New Technologies and Corruption. Panel Chairs: Joseph Pozsgai Alvarez, Felix Glodberg and Roxana Bratu 3. Corruption and Anti-Corruption in Empirical Research: Methodological Challenges. Panel Chairs: Ilona Wysmułek, Oksana Huss and Marina Povitkina 4. Political Parties and Corruption: Legal responses and accountability mechanisms. Panel Chairs: Gorana Misic and Nedim Hogic 5. Civil Society and Corruption: Changes and Challenges. Panel Chairs: Marco Mazzoni and Roberto Mincigrucci 6. Digital Media, Civil society and Anti-Corruption. Panel Chair: Alice Mattoni 7. Transparency and Corruption from Local Government Perspective. Panel Chairs: Eliska Drapalova and Peter Spac 8. Victims or Instigators? Corruption through the Lens of Private Sector Organizations. Panel Chair: Joseph Pozsgai Alvarez. Section Chair Roxana Bratu Roxana is a Lecturer in Corruption Analysis at the University of Sussex, UK. She was previously a postdoctoral researcher at University College London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies where she coordinated the activity of the FP7 ANTICORRP project. Roxana holds a PhD in Sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE), an MSc and a BSc in Sociology from the University of Bucharest, Romania. She held several visiting fellowships at the Centre for Criminology at the University of Oxford (as an OSI/FCO Chevening Scholar) and LSE Mannheim Centre for Criminology, UK. Her research focuses on integrity, transnational aid flows, European Union funding, media representations of corruption and the impact of technology on corruption. Co-chair Sofia Wickberg Sofia is a PhD student in political science at Sciences Po in Paris, where she is affiliated with the Centre for European Studies and the Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Public Policies. Her research focuses on the politics of anti-corruption and the definition of corruption as a public problem in Western Europe. Her work has been published in Ethique Publique, Palgrave McMillian and the Presses de l’Université de Laval. Before starting her PhD, she worked as a research officer for Transparency International's secretariat in Berlin. She regularly collaborates with the OECD, the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre and Transparency International. Co-chair Ilona Wysmulek Ilona is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, where she works in the research group on Comparative Analysis of Social Inequality. Ilona holds a PhD in Sociology from the Graduate School for Social Research, Warsaw. In her dissertation, she developed a harmonized survey dataset to conduct a multi-level analysis of corruption in public schools of Europe. Her current research deals with comparative analysis of corruption, social inequality and perceived meritocracy in Europe as well as methodological issues of measurement comparability, survey quality, and ex-post data harmonization.

Code Title Details
P051 Civil Society and Corruption: Changes and Challenges View Panel Details
P074 Controlling or Facilitating Corruption? The Role of New Technologies View Panel Details
P076 Corruption and Anti-Corruption in Empirical Research: Methodological, Ethical and Security Challenges View Panel Details
P094 Digital Media and Anti-Corruption from the Grassroots View Panel Details
P187 Integrity and Corruption: Conceptual Challenges View Panel Details
P228 Measuring Political Corruption - How to Hit a Moving Target? View Panel Details
P288 Political Parties and Corruption: Legal Responses and Accountability Mechanisms View Panel Details
P337 Reconsidering the Gender - Corruption Link: Policy Implications and Recommendations View Panel Details
P401 The International Factor in Promoting Good Governance View Panel Details
P454 What Went Wrong? The Relationship Between Transparency, Accountability, and Corruption View Panel Details