Odintsov A.V. Corruption as a Norm or Pathology (Modern Research)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu7.2016.3.11

Aleksandr Vladimirovich Odintsov

Candidate of Sociological Sciences, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy and Sociology,

Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (Volgograd Branch)

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Gagarina St., 8, 400131 Volgograd, Russian Federation


Abstract. We have examined two approaches to corruption as a social phenomenon. Within the framework of political and legal approach, corruption is regarded as social pathology being an indicator of the social order violation. This approach is dominant. The definition of corruption is a key one at this stage of social science which is reflected in the laws that are aimed at fighting corruption in Russia. However, it ignores the function that corruption accomplished in post-socialist societies and considers the main cause to be some special criminal motivation of the participants. Representatives of functional and phenomenological approach seek to investigate corruption as a norm of a particular state of society. Here the norm is referred to as a widespread phenomenon, not as a normative ideal, and in this approach, distinction between “informality” and corruption is based on this stipulation. Taking that into account, “informality” is declared to be the norm and becomes an acceptable exception. Corruption is perceived as a sign of uncertainty proper to the Russian society. The phenomenological approach now is more preferable from the viewpoint of the research conducted in terms of its functionality. It does not limit the researcher in the selection of the normative ideal and allows to define one`s own criteria for classifying corruption either as a norm or a pathology. In order to clearly identify one of the two research positions, one must answer the following questions: what is the type of the Russian society (post-modern, contemporary or quasi-contemporary); what is the social order transmitted and reproduced in the Russian society.

Key words: corruption, social norm, social pathology, justice, justifiability.

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