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Steven Sampson

Steven Sampson

Professor emeritus

Steven Sampson

Is anti-corruption an imperialist plot? Transparency International and development assistance


  • Steven Sampson

Summary, in English

Over the last decade the anti-corruption movement, led by the Berlin-based NGO Transparency International (TI), as grown to include 90 affiliates throughout the world. While pursuing laudable goals to raise awareness about corruption, promulgate and enforce anti-corruption conventions, pursue anti-corruption projects and embarrass corrupt governments thorugh its Corruption Perception Index and Bribe PayersIndex, Transparency International has also sought close relations with international business and the World Bank, through its strategy of "coalition-building” to improve the “business climate” in developing countries. Although it perceives itself as part of “global civil society” and attends events such as the World Social Forum, TI has also been criticized as an arm of international capitalism due ot its business-friendly, nonconfrontational policies. Its indexes, which are controversial in their methods, are now being used by donors to withhold development aid. This paper discusses the perspectives on TI as an instrument for achieving integrity and social justice on the one hand,and the view of TI as an instrument for neoliberal hegemony. It is possible that NGOs can in fact serve both functions at the same time.


  • Social Anthropology

Publishing year




Document type

Conference paper


  • Social Anthropology


  • social anthropology
  • corruption
  • anticorruption
  • transparency international
  • neoliberalism
  • civil society
  • development assistance
  • NGOs

Conference name

American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, 2006

Conference date

2006-11-15 - 2006-11-19

Conference place

San Jose, CA, United States