Taking control: citizens, corruption and collective civic action in Africa

Monyake, Moletsane (2018) Taking control: citizens, corruption and collective civic action in Africa. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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With the failure of state-focused anti-corruption reform packages to reduce systemic corruption, the role of citizens in anti-corruption efforts has gained traction in academia and policy-making quarters. Yet, some of the emerging literature questions the prospect of citizens’ demand for accountability in places where corruption is entrenched. In such settings, high perceptions of corruption can reinforce the notion that most people are likely to act corruptly, undermining belief in the ability and willingness of citizens as well as government to tackle corruption. Nevertheless, some of the countries perceived to be highly corrupt have experienced frequent episodes of collective resistance to abuses of power. This has raised a possibility that exposure to corruption can in fact provoke the willingness to get involved in efforts to bring it under control. Furthermore, it seems that there are contextual conditions (other than country-level corruption) that shape the impact of subjective perceptions as well as direct experience of corruption on propensity to engage in anti-corruption tactics based on collective action.

Using analysis of nationally representative public opinion data covering 35 African countries, this dissertation examines individual and contextual level conditions under which perceptions of corruption and personal experiences of bribery might encourage ordinary people to support citizen-centred and collective action methods of curbing corruption. It is the first study to utilise a data set of this magnitude to study the mobilisation potential of exposure to corruption in the African context. One of the key findings is that across different statistical conditions, an increasing experience of paying bribes fosters the support for the use of citizen-centred and collective action methods of anti-corruption. Importantly, there is strong evidence that an increasing frequency of paying bribes is likely to have the same impact in different countries. The effect of the perception of corruption is more ambiguous and indeed strongly influenced by observed and unobserved country-level conditions. These contextual factors include country-level poverty and state-level clientelism. Apart from a focus on the effects of individual-level corruption, the analysis zeroes-in on the extent to which the collective action that arises in highly clientelistic societies represents a demand for impartiality — a lynchpin of good governance and anti-corruption civic engagement.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Politics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM0831 Social change > HM0836 Causes > HM0866 Collective behavior. Mass behavior
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General) > JF1338 Public administration > JF1525 Special topics, A-Z > JF1525.C66 Corruption
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions and public administration (Asia, Africa, Australia, Pacific Area, etc.) > JQ1870 Africa
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 17 May 2018 09:01
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2020 06:32
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/75595

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