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Review article

“Pure Sociology” and “Dirty Business”: The Possibilities for the Explanation of Corruption Using Black’s Paradigm

Saša Božić orcid id ; Department of Sociology, University of Zadar, Croatia
Simona Kuti ; Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, Zagreb, Croatia

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page 187-211

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Corruption is a universal social phenomenon in terms of durability and distribution across societies, while the explanations offered in the different disciplines of social sciences are mostly particular and dedicated to specific types of corruption. The perspective of pure sociology founded by Donald Black is a rare contemporary attempt at specific conceptual framing and comprehensive explanation of distinct social phenomena and of social life in general, which reinterprets social behaviour according to observed regularities of the internal structure and geometry of a social phenomenon. This approach can be applied to universal, i.e. durable and widespread phenomena such as corruption. The authors apply the logic of pure sociology and formulate propositions for the explanation of corruption using Donald Black’s paradigm. From this perspective, corruption is a joint function of relational closeness, a high level of organisation and low social control of involved corrupt social units. Corruption varies directly with organisation and inversely with social control and relational distance. The authors conclude with an evaluation of the explanatory power and credibility of the propositions emerging from the paradigmatic directions of “pure sociologists”.


pure sociology, Donald Black, corruption, dimensions of social space

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