Accepted paper:

Corruption discourses and practices as an instrument for dismantling the (social) state in contemporary Greece


Urania Astrinaki (Panteion University)

Paper short abstract:

Corruption has constituted a mode of governance in Greece since late 80’s. Yet when the debt-crisis erupted, allegations of state-corruption were strategically instrumentalised, in order to manufacture consent, compliance or indifference towards the dismantling of social state and public goods.

Paper long abstract:

Although received ideas of corruption considered it as a dysfunction-malfunction of the modern state and/or discussed it in terms of legality/illegality and morality/immorality of social-political actors, recent approaches to both state and corruption (especially with a view to recent state transformations) have complicated these ideas. In line with these discussions, this paper will develop along two roughly temporal axes. I will attempt to show that corruption has constituted a mode of governance in Greece since the late 80's: although by far unequally practiced between political classes and the ruled, it has been peculiarly 'democratised', at least at a phanticised level, and widely accepted, tying thus rulers and large segments of the ruled in a tacit pact of mutual benefits that largely delegitimised the ideas of the social state and the public good. Yet when the so-called debt-crisis erupted in 2009, and the violent neoliberal 'restructuring' of the state (along with economy and society) was promoted as the 'remedy', allegations of state-corruption were mobilised by the same political classes that established it and were strategically instrumentalised, in a highly moralised discourse, in order to manufacture consent, compliance or at least indifference towards the actual dismantling of the already delegitimised social state and public goods, that were the real targets of this 'restructuring'.

panel P009
The intimacy of corruption as a conundrum of governance: secrecy vs inflated rhetoric