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

Ledeneva, AV; (2014) The Ambivalence of Blurred Boundaries: Where Informality stops and corruption begins? RFIEA Perspectives , 12 (hiver ) 19 - 22. Green open access

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Abstract

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’ (Olivier de Sardan 1999, 2008). 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 (Merton 1976: 6-7). 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 (Merton 1976: 8).

Type: Article
Title: The Ambivalence of Blurred Boundaries: Where Informality stops and corruption begins?
Location: France
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://rfiea.fr/articles/ambivalence-blurred-bound...
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > SSEES
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1461723
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