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This subject focuses on definitions, types and theories of corruption, and on its political, social and economic effects in various parts of the world, particularly since the 1980s. The subject encourages students to problematise the concept of corruption in terms of its varied meanings, and to distinguish it from concepts such as organised crime, shadow economy, and political sleaze. One major issue considered is the extent to which corruption can delegitimise political systems. The subject will explore cultural diversity in interpretations of corruption, and the extent to which different cultural and systemic factors appear to exacerbate or reduce corruption. There will be a particular focus on the possible connections between corruption and neo-liberalism. On completion, students should have a sophisticated understanding of corruption in the contemporary world, what causes it, how it is measured, and how it is combated. Students should also be able to provide an advanced cost-benefit analysis of corruption in political, economic and social terms.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject students should:
- be able to problematise the concept and study of corruption, especially in the comparative context;
- be able to evaluate each of the methods suggested in the literature for assessing the scale and nature of corruption in particular countries or regions;
- be able to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the major methods proposed in the literature for combating corruption;
- be able to outline and evaluate the debates on the possible benefits of corruption;
- be able to provide a sophisticated critique of the major contemporary theories of the causes of corruption.
- Research: through competent use of the library and other information sources (inc. online), and the definition of areas of inquiry and methods of research.
- Critical Thinking and Analysis: through recommended reading, briefing and essay writing, and seminar discussion, and by determining the strength of an argument.
- Thinking in Theoretical Terms: through seminar discussion, essay writing and engagement in the methodologies of the humanities and social sciences.
- Thinking Creatively: through essay writing, seminar discussion and presentations, conceptualising theoretical problems, forming judgements and arguments from conflicting evidence and by critical analysis.
- Understanding of Social, Ethical and Cultural Context: through the contextualisation of judgements, developing a critical self-awareness, being open to new ideas and possibilities and by constructing an argument.
- Communicating Knowledge Intelligibly and Economically: through briefing and essay writing, and seminar discussion.
- Written Communication: through briefing and essay preparation and writing.
- Oral Presentation: through seminar discussion and informal class presentations.
- Time Management and Planning: through managing and organising workloads for recommended reading, essay and assignment completion.
- Group Work: through group discussions.
Last updated: 11 February 2021