Political Corruption

Module code: L2046
Level 6
30 credits in spring teaching
Teaching method: Lecture, Seminar
Assessment modes: Dissertation

The objective of this module is to shed some light on the dark side of politics by developing analytical and theoretical tools that will allow us to analyse corruption across both time and space. We begin by analysing exactly what we understand by ‘corrupt’ behaviour and how this appears to differ (often quite starkly) across national boundaries. Are humans naturally corrupt? If so, does this matter? Is corrupt behaviour absolute and universal or does it depend on location and context? Indeed, can corruption sometimes even be a good thing?

Armed with the analytical tools aimed at unpacking the complex phenomenon of political corruption, we examine specific examples of corruption across the developed world, ranging from systematic abuses of power by parties and politicians to small-scale, almost trivial, petty misdemeanours. This analysis then provides a foundation for examining what reforms might contribute to lessening instances of political corruption in the western world.

Module learning outcomes

  • Identify a topic suitable for research relating to political corruption
  • Plan and carry out a research project relating to political corruption which sustains a line of argument
  • Locate and evaluate a range of resources appropriate to a topic on political corruption
  • Make use of constructive feedback on the development of their ideas in the implementation of a research topic related to political corruption