University of Wisconsin–Madison

“The Politics of Bureaucratic Corruption in Post-Transitional Eastern Europe”

When: September 21, 2017 4:00 pm

Where: 206 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive

Speaker:Marina Zaloznaya, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Iowa

About the talk: Marina Zaloznaya will speak about her new book, published with Cambridge University Press Studies in Law and Society Series in April 2017. Using a mix of ethnographic, survey, and comparative historical methodologies, this book offers an unprecedented insight into the corruption economies of Ukrainian and Belarusian universities, hospitals, and secondary schools. Its detailed analysis suggests that political turnover in hybrid political regimes has a strong impact on petty economic crime in service-provision bureaucracies. Theoretically, the book rejects the dominant paradigm that attributes corruption to the allegedly ongoing political transition. Instead, it develops a more nuanced approach that appreciates the complexity of corruption economies in non-Western societies, embraces the local meanings and functions of corruption, and recognizes the stability of new post-transitional regimes in Eastern Europe and beyond. This book offers a critical look at the social costs of transparency, develops a blueprint for a ‘sociology of corruption’, and offers concrete and feasible policy recommendations. It will appeal to scholars across the social sciences, policymakers and a variety of anti-corruption and social justice activists.


About the speaker: Marina Zaloznaya is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Iowa. Her research represents the most comprehensive body of work on bureaucratic corruption in sociology to date. She has studied petty corruption in organizations using different methodologies, including large-N surveys, ethnography, interviews, and documentary analysis. This research lies at the basis of her monograph, The Politics of Bureaucratic Corruption in Post- Transitional Eastern Europe (Cambridge University Press 2017) and a series of articles published in multiple scholarly journals. For her current project, Professor Zaloznaya and her collaborators carried out national surveys on corruption behaviors and political attitudes in Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia. Based on these data, they have explored the impact of bribery on non-democratic political regimes, considered the effects of institutional instability on citizen’s decisions to resort to bribery, and put forth a first path-diagramed structural equation model of bureaucratic corruption. Professor Zaloznaya’s research has been supported by National Science Foundation, Open Society Institute, and the US Department of Defense. At the University of Iowa, Professor Zaloznaya teaches courses in Sociology of Human Rights, Comparative-Historical Approaches to Crime, Sociology of White-Collar Crime, Law & Society, and Global Criminology.