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Corruption in a Culture of Štela: Understanding Informal: Transactions in Bosnia and Hercegovina

Farjani, Leila LU (2016) RÄSM02 20161
Department of Sociology of Law
Abstract
The focus of this thesis is to explore why petty corruption dominates and persists in Bosnian society despite the major anti-corruption efforts of Bosnian government and international organisations. By approaching corruption from a social-legal perspective, this thesis aims to explore the local experiences, social norms and morality of informal transactions in Bosnian society. To investigate these questions, a qualitative ethnographic approach is applied providing detailed in-depth findings regarding petty corruption in Bosnia, specifically the experiences and interpretations of ordinary citizens involved in the informal activities are explored. The thesis is based on participant observations and informal interviews which were carried out... (More)
The focus of this thesis is to explore why petty corruption dominates and persists in Bosnian society despite the major anti-corruption efforts of Bosnian government and international organisations. By approaching corruption from a social-legal perspective, this thesis aims to explore the local experiences, social norms and morality of informal transactions in Bosnian society. To investigate these questions, a qualitative ethnographic approach is applied providing detailed in-depth findings regarding petty corruption in Bosnia, specifically the experiences and interpretations of ordinary citizens involved in the informal activities are explored. The thesis is based on participant observations and informal interviews which were carried out during a period of ethnographic field research in 2016 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Hercegovina. The study applies Ehrlich’s concept of‘living law’ and Marcel Mauss’s gift-giving analytic framework in which the special focus analyzes the gap between state laws and the informal laws followed by citizens. Throughout the thesis it is argued that informal transactions in Bosnian society reveal different cultural and practical meanings from most of the Western world. International anti-corruption organisations often overlook the fact that Bosnia has not experienced only a transition in politics and its economy such as other ex-communist states but has also undergone a transition from war to peace. Thus, this has led to a non-functional welfare system and a socio-economic divide between the political ‘elite’ and ordinary citizens. The findings of this study show that due to a collapsed welfare system Bosnian citizens without traditional informal connections must turn to corruption, ranging from receiving healthcare to entering into employment. Although ordinary people in Bosnia condemn bribery they are left with no choice but to engage in corrupt practices as they serve as ‘coping’ strategies. The findings of this research study indicate the need for an approach that considers the socio-economic and moral factors within the local context in order to understand the relevance of international legal definitions of corruption. In failing to acknowledge these issues, Bosnia remains and will remain one of the most corrupt countries in Europe. Moreover, the current socio-economic situation not only reinforces corrupt behaviour but creates a greater segregation between the ‘elite’ and ordinary citizens in Bosnia. (Less)
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author
Farjani, Leila LU
supervisor
organization
course
RÄSM02 20161
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Bosnia, Corruption, Transparency International, Living Law: Legal Pluralism
language
English
id
8893018
date added to LUP
2016-10-05 12:55:58
date last changed
2016-10-05 13:12:04
@misc{8893018,
  abstract     = {The focus of this thesis is to explore why petty corruption dominates and persists in Bosnian society despite the major anti-corruption efforts of Bosnian government and international organisations. By approaching corruption from a social-legal perspective, this thesis aims to explore the local experiences, social norms and morality of informal transactions in Bosnian society. To investigate these questions, a qualitative ethnographic approach is applied providing detailed in-depth findings regarding petty corruption in Bosnia, specifically the experiences and interpretations of ordinary citizens involved in the informal activities are explored. The thesis is based on participant observations and informal interviews which were carried out during a period of ethnographic field research in 2016 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Hercegovina. The study applies Ehrlich’s concept of‘living law’ and Marcel Mauss’s gift-giving analytic framework in which the special focus analyzes the gap between state laws and the informal laws followed by citizens. Throughout the thesis it is argued that informal transactions in Bosnian society reveal different cultural and practical meanings from most of the Western world. International anti-corruption organisations often overlook the fact that Bosnia has not experienced only a transition in politics and its economy such as other ex-communist states but has also undergone a transition from war to peace. Thus, this has led to a non-functional welfare system and a socio-economic divide between the political ‘elite’ and ordinary citizens. The findings of this study show that due to a collapsed welfare system Bosnian citizens without traditional informal connections must turn to corruption, ranging from receiving healthcare to entering into employment. Although ordinary people in Bosnia condemn bribery they are left with no choice but to engage in corrupt practices as they serve as ‘coping’ strategies. The findings of this research study indicate the need for an approach that considers the socio-economic and moral factors within the local context in order to understand the relevance of international legal definitions of corruption. In failing to acknowledge these issues, Bosnia remains and will remain one of the most corrupt countries in Europe. Moreover, the current socio-economic situation not only reinforces corrupt behaviour but creates a greater segregation between the ‘elite’ and ordinary citizens in Bosnia.},
  author       = {Farjani, Leila},
  keyword      = {Bosnia,Corruption,Transparency International,Living Law: Legal Pluralism},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Corruption in a Culture of Štela: Understanding Informal: Transactions in Bosnia and Hercegovina},
  year         = {2016},
}