The Ambivalence of Blurred Boundaries: Where Informality stops and corruption begins?


Alena Ledeneva, "The Ambivalence of Blurred Boundaries: Where Informality stops and corruption begins?", dans Perspectives, n° 12, hiver 2014-2015, p.19-22.


Extrait de l'article :

For years, I have been working on issues of informality. Yet these issues are often also branded as corruption. The research question whether the boundaries between the two can be drawn cannot be answered with help of definitions. Analytical distinctions prove useless in the face of practices emb edded in particular sets of constraints, practical norms and ‘moral economies’. If I am asked to give a one-word clue to identify the missing bit in the puzzle of crossing boundaries between informality and corruption, I would say—ambivalence. In its sociological sense, ambivalence, in the definition of Robert Merton, refers to incompatible normative expectations of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviour. The incompatibility is assigned to a status and the social structures that generate the circumstances in which ambivalence is embedded. The core type of sociological ambivalence puts contradictory demands upon the occupants of a status in a particular social relation. Since these norms cannot be simultaneously expressed in behaviour, they come to be expressed in an oscillation of behaviours: of detachment and compassion, of discipline and permissiveness, of personal and impersonal treatment.


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Economies of Favour or Corrupt Societies? Exploring the Boundaries Between Informality and Corruption
01 October 2013 - 30 June 2014
30 June 2014
Alena Ledeneva
Contemporary period (1789-…)
World or no region
Alena Ledeneva