Corruption, Social Norms and Everyday Life in Uzbekistan
In this chapter, we explore the multifaceted role, logic and morality of informal transactions in order to better understand the socio-legal context informing the meaning of corruption. Our aim is to show how informal or illegal practices (‘corruption’ from a legal standpoint) not only mirror kleptocracy, individual greed, economic interests or survival strategies, but also reflect social norms generated through kinship, social status, hierarchies, affection, reciprocity and reputation. We argue that any anti-corruption strategies should be built on a deep knowledge of social norms and local context that determine the ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ of everyday social behavior. Our chapter is based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork between 2009 and 2016 in Uzbekistan.
Note on Transliteration
Throughout the chapter, Uzbek words are spelled according the standard literary form. They are used based on the following two criteria: (1) whether an Uzbek word or phenomenon is central to the chapter; (2) if an English translation does not fully capture the meaning of the Uzbek word or phenomenon. Uzbek words are presented in italics. The principal exceptions are mahalla and urug’, since these words are frequently used and have a central place in the chapter.
This research is funded by the Swedish Research Council [grant number 437-2013-7344].
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