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Title: Discourses of corruption in Slovakia : society, media and small and medium-sized enterprises
Author: Bereghazyova, Gabriela
ISNI:       0000 0004 6494 8175
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2017
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International anti-corruption discourse (IACD) has received a lot of attention in scholarly circles. The discourse itself has been the subject of a number of critical analyses. However, not much is known regarding how IACD is received in local contexts. Enquiries into the matter are only now beginning to attract attention. It is also surprising that scholars in the field of corruption have somewhat neglected SMEs. SMEs are heralded as pillars of the economy and society at large, while corruption is viewed as an obstacle to prosperity. Corruption in SMEs is thus a timely issue. This research provides insights into the appreciations of corruption on the meso-level of Slovakia and micro-level of individual entrepreneurs in tourism and agriculture in the country against the macro-level IACD. It critically analyses how IACD impacts on societal discourse on corruption in Slovakia by tracking the genealogy of corruption from the time of the emergence of Slovakia as a nation in the 19th century to the present. Consequently, it looks into how individual SMEs in tourism and agriculture utilise this discourse in their understandings and behaviours towards corruption, utilising the lens of governmentality. The interview data was collected from 30 SMEs in Western and Central Slovakia. Discourse analysis of media texts reveals curious workings of IACD in the local context where international truths are adopted and adapted to suit local appreciation of corruption in such a way that does little to combat corruption. IACD misses the crucial subtle meanings and moral refinements that corruption carries in the Slovak context. These are embraced creatively by entrepreneurs. Corruption is either morally justified or condoned. It manifests itself either in the direct undermining of the ongoing anti-corruption efforts. The findings shed light on the struggling anti-corruption fight in the country, the need to abandon the universalising strategies of IACD in favour of more context-sensitive tailored solutions. Above all, the thesis highlights a glaring gap in anti-corruption - its desire to ingrain western institutions with a little foundational work in terms of shifting beliefs and mindsets of population. Without it, anti-corruption can only offer limited results. Free media that are tasked with the role to raise awareness in populations, that is to say to induce the particular mindset, do not take up this challenge in the face of pursuing their own interests. In Slovakia, an approach that would set traditional rural morality, rather than economic morality of IACD, at the heart of corruption, appears a way forward. The principal contributions of this research stem from being the first study to explore corruption in depth in SMEs, and thus the first to address corruption in tourism and agriculture not only in Slovakia or CEE, but – at least in the English language - in the world. It brings fresh and, above all, detailed insights into the mechanisms and dynamics of petty corruption. It is also the first study to devote extensive attention to the ways corruption is discussed in the media.
Supervisor: Williams, Allan Sponsor: ESRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available