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Informality in Eastern Europe

Structures, Political Cultures and Social Practices


Christian Giordano and Nicolas Hayoz

This volume deals with different aspects of informal structures and practices in Eastern Europe. Its objectives are twofold. It aims at discovering whether or to what extent informal structures and practices in Eastern Europe have meanings, functions, forms and effects different from those that can be observed in the politics and societies of Western Europe. The authors of this volume – most of them are from the region – have been invited to discuss the scientific relevance of the distinction informal / formal in their respective field of research or discipline. This points to the second objective of this volume which is to encourage a more fruitful interaction between disciplines that often disregard each other and which, despite inevitable and essential epistemological differences, have significant shared interests such as the comparative analysis of political phenomena in terms of elementary forms of social organization. The relation between informality and formality in a more methodologically pluralist and ultimately holistic way can be analysed via regards croisés between the disciplines anthropology, political science and sociology. This allows the extension of this comparative and multidisciplinary approach to other themes and phenomena of mutual interests.
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Abuse of Office, Informal Networks, “Moral Accountability” – Political Corruption in Bulgaria



In 2012, five years since joining the EU, Bulgaria was still much in a state of development, reform and indeed upheaval. Significant discrepancies and ambivalences can be observed between the new democratic and constitutional structures and their practical functioning, particularly, although not exclusively, on the level of politics. This chapter examines how the existence and the effects of political corruption represent an important characteristic and background to these developments. It argues that the influence of corrupt informal networks on the regional and national level has a large impact on the development of the country and that “arrangements” within the political and administrative spheres brought about a system that, from the very outset, fostered the unsanctioned appropriation of public and private resources at great cost to society. It will demonstrate that political corruption, patronage and clientelism through symbiotic relationships ensure the concentration of state resources in the hands of the few, so that the boundaries between state and private property are often blurred and a vicious circle exists through the relationships of mutual dependence, which serve to secure political and economic influence.

This chapter will show that political corruption is not just personal enrichment, economic damage and functional disorder of public institutions and the legal system. It illustrates that it is a dynamic phenomenon, which can include many varieties of corrupt behaviour, various constellations of involved individual and collective stakeholders and multidimensional factors contributing to its existence and determining its patterns. In this connection it makes...

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