Exploring the socio-legal aspects of low-level corruption: a study on the perceptions of informal practices of long-term local residents and migrants in Scotland and Hungary

Gyurko, Fanni Anna (2021) Exploring the socio-legal aspects of low-level corruption: a study on the perceptions of informal practices of long-term local residents and migrants in Scotland and Hungary. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[img] PDF
Download (1MB)


This thesis aims to provide a nuanced insight into people’s understanding of everyday corruption practices, by exploring the practices themselves, as well as the norms surrounding them, through people’s participation in them and perceptions of them. I examine everyday corruption, which I understand as a socially constructed phenomenon, through a nonjudgemental approach to the lived experiences of long-term residents and migrants in two differing research contexts of Budapest and Glasgow. This investigation includes the examination of the norms of carrying out everyday corruption practices as well as the processes that help people to develop a sense of acceptance of these informal practices that are divergent from, and contrary to, formal norms. I use Ehrlich’s ‘living law’ theory as the underlying theoretical framework, which advises my overall conceptual framework, having made some modifications that enable me to apply this theory to an empirical analysis of the everyday corruption practices and their norms.

The thesis is based on fifty-one in-depth interviews and five focus groups conducted between February 2017 and March 2019 in Budapest and Glasgow with four groups of participants: long-term Hungarian residents and British migrants in Budapest, and long-term Scottish (British) residents and Hungarian migrants in Glasgow. This thesis is an investigation within and between contexts, as my study takes place in two research locations. The migrants’ perspective has a particular importance because migrants move between social settings, which means that their lived experience can provide a more nuanced insight into learning the norms of, and participating in, everyday corruption in their new context. The study reveals that although it is important to consider and situate people’s understanding of everyday corruption in their local context, there are other more generalisable factors and processes (rationalisation, learning, and routinising) that contribute to construct this understanding. Moreover, these processes, combined with the factors that enable people to take part in informal practices according to their norms (procedural acceptability), on occasions lead to people perceiving these practices as being right (moral acceptability). The generalisable factors that people consider when constructing their understanding of informal practices are the external pressures in the context and internal pressures within social associations, and the perceived harmfulness of the informal practices. I argue that considering these factors, which I call the ‘matrix of acceptability’ can be applied more universally, which can challenge simplified, cultural explanations of everyday corruption and people’s participation in and perceptions of those.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Hardman, Dr. Helen and Kay, Professor Rebecca
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82625
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2022 14:32
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2022 16:35
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82625
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/82625

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year