New Sussex research centre examines how to stop corruption
What is corruption? What causes it? What can be done about it? These are the key questions being asked by the team of a new research centre at the University of Sussex.
The Sussex Centre for the Study of Corruption (SCSC) will focus on the processes behind major scandals of the past, from Watergate to MPs’ expenses, and compare and draw lessons from corruption and anti-corruption discourses, ideas and movements.
Interim director Dr Dan Hough, a Reader in Politics, says: “Corruption has been around for as long as people have organised themselves, but never has it come under the spotlight as much as it does now. Individual cases have always been high profile, but the sheer number of corrupt acts that have been reported in recent times is unprecedented.”
He says the catalyst for setting up the SCSC was the MPs’ expenses scandal. “The disconnect between what the wider world saw as corrupt and what the rules and regulations permitted for MPs, who simply claimed that all they were doing was following the rules as they were laid down, was subsequently very revealing.
“It made us realise that there was plenty of scope for academia to contribute to analysing the three questions that have subsequently come to shape the SCSC's work: what is corruption; what subsequently causes it; and, most importantly, what can be done about it?”
The SCSC will be part of the School of Law, Politics and Sociology. A number of academics have already been studying issues in this area, such as corruption in India and judicial bribery in Georgia.
In addition to research, the Centre will also be running a one-year masters programme in Corruption and Governance, starting in September 2012. Students will be expected to spend time working with regulatory bodies and organisations active in the field of anti-corruption, and to report on their time in the field, linking theoretical and analytical concepts studied at Sussex with the real world of anti-corruption.
The centre will be hosting a launch conference in early September, when a number of high-profile speakers, ranging from politicians to NGO representatives, will be attending.
The event will also coincide with the publication of Dr Hough’s new book (Corruption, Anti-Corruption and Governance), which looks at anti-corruption approaches in the UK, Germany, Poland, South Korea, Kenya and Bangladesh. Dr. Hough’s book subsequently analyses under which conditions particular anti-corruption strategies and policies are most likely to work best.