Corruption in Today's World

Subject POLS40005 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2-hour seminar per week. If enrolments exceed 30, the 2nd hour of the seminar may be split into 2 or 3 small classes.
Total Time Commitment: 10
Prerequisites: Admission to the Postgraduate Certificate/ Diploma in Arts (Political Science) or (International Politics), or Fourth-year Honours in Political Science or International Studies, or the Master of International Politics, Master of Criminology, or Master of International Relations.
Corequisites: none
Recommended Background Knowledge: Politics and International Studies at Undergraduate level
Non Allowed Subjects: none
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Prof Leslie Holmes


Prof. Leslie Holmes

Subject Overview:

This subject focuses on definitions, types and theories of corruption, and on its political, social and economic effects in various parts of the world, particularly since the 1980s. The subject asks students to problematise the concept of corruption in terms of its varied meanings in different cultures, and to distinguish it from concepts such as organised crime, shadow economy, and political sleaze. One major issue considered is the extent to which corruption can delegitimise political systems. The subject will explore cultural diversity in interpretations of corruption, and the extent to which different cultural and systemic factors appear to exacerbate or reduce corruption. There will be a particular focus on the possible connections between corruption and neo-liberalism. On completion, students should have a sophisticated understanding of corruption in the contemporary world, what causes it, how it is measured, and how it is combated. Students should also be able to provide an advanced cost-benefit analysis of corruption in political, economic and social terms.

  • be able to problematise the concept and study of corruption, especially in the comparative context.
  • be able to evaluate each of the methods suggested in the literature for assessing the scale and nature of corruption in particular countries or regions.
  • be able to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the major methods proposed in the literature for combating corruption.
  • be able to outline and evaluate the debates on the possible benefits of corruption.
  • be able to provide a sophisticated critique of the major contemporary theories of the causes of corruption.
Assessment: 5 x 500 word briefing papers, each worth 10% due throughout the semester, and a 2,500 word essay worth 50% due at the end of semester.
Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available for purchase from the University Bookshop.

  • Political Corruption: Concepts and Contexts (2001) (A. Heidenheimer &amp.amp.amp.amp.amp.amp.amp. M Johnston (eds))
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • be able to apply research skills and critical methods.
  • be able to develop persuasive arguments.
  • able to communicate oral and written arguments and ideas effectively.
Related Course(s): Master of Criminology (CWT)
Master of International Politics
Master of International Relations
Master of International Studies
Postgraduate Diploma in International Studies
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Criminology
International Politics
International Politics
International Studies
Political Science
Political Science
Political Science
Socio-Legal studies
Socio-legal Studies

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