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Mutor i det godas tjänst? Biståndsarbetare i samtal om vardaglig korruption

Thelander, Joakim LU (2006) In Lund Dissertations in Sociology
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

I denna avhandling studeras korruption och mutor som i första hand sociala och moraliska, snarare än ekonomiska, fenomen. Vilka beskrivningar och tolkningar ger svenska och danska biståndsarbetare av sina möten med vardaglig korruption? Hur fördömes, ursäktas eller rättfärdigas användandet av mutor? Går det att tala om en etikett för mutor, och hur ser denna i så fall ut? Biståndsarbetarna kan uppleva att de förväntas försvara eller leva upp till antikorruptiva normer. Samtidigt förväntas de genomföra sitt arbete så effektivt som möjligt i länder och regioner som ofta beskrivs som korrumperade.



Det empiriska materialet i undersökningen består av intervjuer med svenska, i två... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

I denna avhandling studeras korruption och mutor som i första hand sociala och moraliska, snarare än ekonomiska, fenomen. Vilka beskrivningar och tolkningar ger svenska och danska biståndsarbetare av sina möten med vardaglig korruption? Hur fördömes, ursäktas eller rättfärdigas användandet av mutor? Går det att tala om en etikett för mutor, och hur ser denna i så fall ut? Biståndsarbetarna kan uppleva att de förväntas försvara eller leva upp till antikorruptiva normer. Samtidigt förväntas de genomföra sitt arbete så effektivt som möjligt i länder och regioner som ofta beskrivs som korrumperade.



Det empiriska materialet i undersökningen består av intervjuer med svenska, i två fall danska, biståndsarbetare. Sammanlagt gjordes sjutton individuella intervjuer och i en gruppintervju medverkade fyra personer. Åtta av intervjupersonerna var kvinnor och tretton män. Samtliga intervjuer spelades in på band och transkriberades. Bland de intervjuade finns personer med erfarenheter av bistånd från såväl större som mindre organisationer och med olika typer av uppgifter, till exempel som volontär, projektledare, handläggare, regionansvarig och frilansande konsult. Flera regioner är representerade: Östeuropa, Afrika, Asien samt Latinamerika.



Med hjälp av diskursanalytiska och socialkonstruktionistiska perspektiv analyseras hur biståndsarbetarna uttrycker sig när de talar om sina möten med korruption - hur deras beskrivningar fungerar retoriskt och hur de är uppbyggda. Biståndsarbetarna talar under intervjuerna om ett antal taktiker för att undvika att behöva använda sig av mutor. Dessa taktiker kan vara interaktiva eller administrativa. Samtidigt kan biståndsarbetarnas beskrivningar av hur de hanterar situationerna och framgångsrikt undviker att muta ses som tillfällen till gynnsamma självpresentationer under intervjuerna. Biståndsarbetarna talar emellertid inte bara om situationer där de med framgång ägnar sig åt undvikanden; de beskriver även tillfällen då de på något sätt blivit involverade i vad som kan vara vardaglig korruption. Dessa beskrivningar analyseras med hjälp av begreppet redovisande förklaringar eller "accounts". Genom att använda sig av ansvarsbefriande och rättfärdigande förklaringar kan handlingarna beskrivas och uppfattas som försvarliga och acceptabla.



En annan dimension av hur biståndsarbetarna talar om mutor och korruption handlar om gränsdragningsarbete och kontrasteringar. Korruption är beroende av en social definitionsprocess för att kunna urskiljas som korruption; det är inte något fenomen med objektiva och allmängiltiga egenskaper. En form av gränsdragningsarbete kan till exempel handla om att dra upp gränsen mellan vad som är en gåva och vad som är en muta. I intervjuerna finns även beskrivningar av vad som kan betraktas som "mutans etikett". Mutor är ett socialt område med sina egna etikettskrav, som framför allt präglas av regeln om diskretion.



Många forskare har pekat på problemen med att definiera och mäta korruption. Det är därför viktigt att studera hur fenomenet korruption tolkas och konstrueras av olika aktörer. Vad korruption betyder är en relevant och grundläggande fråga, och som sådan är den en förutsättning för att förstå fenomenet. (Less)
Abstract
In this dissertation, corruption and bribery are investigated as social and moral, rather than economic, phenomena. The analysis concentrates on the ways in which Swedish and Danish aid workers describe their experiences of everyday or 'petty' corruption. How do they view their encounters with everyday corruption in developing countries? In what ways are bribes condemned, excused, or justified? While aid workers may feel obliged to adhere to anticorruption norms, they are also expected to work as efficiently as possible in regions often described as corrupt.



The empirical material consists of seventeen individual interviews with aid workers, of whom two were Danish and the rest Swedish, supplemented with a group... (More)
In this dissertation, corruption and bribery are investigated as social and moral, rather than economic, phenomena. The analysis concentrates on the ways in which Swedish and Danish aid workers describe their experiences of everyday or 'petty' corruption. How do they view their encounters with everyday corruption in developing countries? In what ways are bribes condemned, excused, or justified? While aid workers may feel obliged to adhere to anticorruption norms, they are also expected to work as efficiently as possible in regions often described as corrupt.



The empirical material consists of seventeen individual interviews with aid workers, of whom two were Danish and the rest Swedish, supplemented with a group interview with four participants. Eight of the interviewees were female and thirteen male. All the interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed. The aid workers interviewed in the study have experience of practical aid work at different levels, be it voluntary work, consulting work, project management, or aid shipment work, in aid and charity organisations of all sizes. A range of regions is represented: Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America.



In addition to studying the substance of the aid workers' stories, much of the analysis focuses on the rhetorical and interactional dimensions of the interviews. The analytical approach is inspired by research in fields such as social constructionism, discourse analysis, and narrative analysis. The aid workers describe a variety of 'avoidance tactics' for bribery or corruption in general. These tactics can be interactive or administrative. By portraying themselves as clever or 'tough' in dealing with difficult situations, they also paint an image of themselves as competent and moral aid workers. The aid workers do not only describe their successes in avoiding bribes and corruption; they talk about situations where in some way they got involved with everyday corruption. These passages are analysed by interpreting their descriptions as 'accounts'. By combining explanations that outline limited responsibilities with justifications, the aid workers' actions can be described as reasonable and acceptable.



Another rhetorical dimension displayed during the interviews is 'boundary-work' and the use of contrasts. Corruption is dependant on a social definition process being understood as corruption; it is not a phenomenon with essential and objective properties. For example, the boundaries drawn between bribes (defined as corrupt) and gifts (defined as non-corrupt) are in a sense arbitrary. Also, the 'etiquette of bribes' is analysed. There are many elements in the interviews that tend to a definition of such an etiquette, the most salient being the importance of discretion.



Many scholars have pointed to the problems of defining and measuring corruption, which makes it relevant to study the different ways in which corruption is conceived and constructed by various social actors. What corruption means is a valid and fundamental question, and as such is a necessary precondition for a fuller understanding of the subject. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • Professor Adelswärd, Viveka, The Tema Institute, Communication Studies, Linköping University
organization
alternative title
Paying Bribes to do Good? Aid Workers' Talk about Everyday Corruption
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
white-collar crime, self-presentations, rhetoric, reported speech, quotations, petty corruption, narrative, morality, interviews, interaction, impression management, gifts, etiquette, discourse, economic crime, development, corruption, contrasts, constructionism, bribes, bribery, boundary-work, anticorruption, accounts, aid work, Criminology, Kriminologi, Sociology, Sociologi, Social psychology, Socialpsykologi
in
Lund Dissertations in Sociology
pages
194 pages
publisher
Department of Sociology, Lund University
defense location
Kulturens auditorium, Lund
defense date
2006-02-01 13:15
ISSN
1102-4712
ISBN
91-7267-211-0
language
Swedish
LU publication?
yes
id
7e5a28fd-75c7-41c2-ba12-2d46bbcfd04b (old id 25727)
date added to LUP
2007-06-05 08:18:23
date last changed
2018-11-21 20:43:21
@phdthesis{7e5a28fd-75c7-41c2-ba12-2d46bbcfd04b,
  abstract     = {In this dissertation, corruption and bribery are investigated as social and moral, rather than economic, phenomena. The analysis concentrates on the ways in which Swedish and Danish aid workers describe their experiences of everyday or 'petty' corruption. How do they view their encounters with everyday corruption in developing countries? In what ways are bribes condemned, excused, or justified? While aid workers may feel obliged to adhere to anticorruption norms, they are also expected to work as efficiently as possible in regions often described as corrupt.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
The empirical material consists of seventeen individual interviews with aid workers, of whom two were Danish and the rest Swedish, supplemented with a group interview with four participants. Eight of the interviewees were female and thirteen male. All the interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed. The aid workers interviewed in the study have experience of practical aid work at different levels, be it voluntary work, consulting work, project management, or aid shipment work, in aid and charity organisations of all sizes. A range of regions is represented: Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
In addition to studying the substance of the aid workers' stories, much of the analysis focuses on the rhetorical and interactional dimensions of the interviews. The analytical approach is inspired by research in fields such as social constructionism, discourse analysis, and narrative analysis. The aid workers describe a variety of 'avoidance tactics' for bribery or corruption in general. These tactics can be interactive or administrative. By portraying themselves as clever or 'tough' in dealing with difficult situations, they also paint an image of themselves as competent and moral aid workers. The aid workers do not only describe their successes in avoiding bribes and corruption; they talk about situations where in some way they got involved with everyday corruption. These passages are analysed by interpreting their descriptions as 'accounts'. By combining explanations that outline limited responsibilities with justifications, the aid workers' actions can be described as reasonable and acceptable.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Another rhetorical dimension displayed during the interviews is 'boundary-work' and the use of contrasts. Corruption is dependant on a social definition process being understood as corruption; it is not a phenomenon with essential and objective properties. For example, the boundaries drawn between bribes (defined as corrupt) and gifts (defined as non-corrupt) are in a sense arbitrary. Also, the 'etiquette of bribes' is analysed. There are many elements in the interviews that tend to a definition of such an etiquette, the most salient being the importance of discretion.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Many scholars have pointed to the problems of defining and measuring corruption, which makes it relevant to study the different ways in which corruption is conceived and constructed by various social actors. What corruption means is a valid and fundamental question, and as such is a necessary precondition for a fuller understanding of the subject.},
  author       = {Thelander, Joakim},
  isbn         = {91-7267-211-0},
  issn         = {1102-4712},
  keyword      = {white-collar crime,self-presentations,rhetoric,reported speech,quotations,petty corruption,narrative,morality,interviews,interaction,impression management,gifts,etiquette,discourse,economic crime,development,corruption,contrasts,constructionism,bribes,bribery,boundary-work,anticorruption,accounts,aid work,Criminology,Kriminologi,Sociology,Sociologi,Social psychology,Socialpsykologi},
  language     = {swe},
  pages        = {194},
  publisher    = {Department of Sociology, Lund University},
  school       = {Lund University},
  series       = {Lund Dissertations in Sociology},
  title        = {Mutor i det godas tjänst? Biståndsarbetare i samtal om vardaglig korruption},
  year         = {2006},
}