Negotiating Corruption: NGOs, Governance and Hybridity in West Africa, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Negotiating Corruption

NGOs, Governance and Hybridity in West Africa, 1st Edition

By Laura Routley


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Paperback: 9781138308435
pub: 2017-06-16
Hardback: 9780415825269
pub: 2015-12-08
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781317398509
pub: 2015-12-14
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Negotiating Corruption demands that we think again about corruption in Africa. It problematises the framing of African corruption as a phenomenon that emerges from a clash between two sets of norms. Moreover, it highlights the colonial legacies of this frame, which situates African corruption within continually recurring debates about the political inclusion or banishment of 'others'.

NGOs are characterised as intermediaries between the local and the international, and between the state and the population. In both of these roles they are understood to reform governance by bringing about changes in culture and instituting bureaucratic norms. They have, therefore, been seen as part of the apparatus of a global liberal governmentality. This book complicates this portrayal and highlights the ambiguous role of liberal governmentality through an exploration of the 'grey practices' of the NGOs studied. These practices are 'grey' as they do not fit the pattern of virtuous NGOs holding the state to account described in development policy, yet at the same time they ensure that the state produces the outcomes that a fully-functioning state ought to. This enacting of oppositional and antagonistic elements is further unpacked in conversation with Homi Bhabha's concepts of negotiation and hybridity.

Negotiating Corruption draws attention to both the limitations of current explanations of corruption in Africa and the problematic way in which they are framed. The book's detailed engagement with understandings of corruption within policy and academic debates will make it a useful resource for undergraduate teaching. It will also be of keen interest to researchers, academics, and postgraduate students who engage with the issues of corruption, NGOs, civil society, African politics, governmentality, and hybridity.


‘Challenging and ambitious, this book provides both an empirical and a theoretical corrective to dominant accounts of corruption in Africa. Bringing the messy reality of national NGOs to life, Routley shows how their engagement in ‘grey practices’ to ‘do good’ cannot be reduced to corruption but is better understood as a form of hybridity and a skillful negotiation of their complex position between the local and the global.’ - Rita Abrahamsen, University of Ottawa, Canada

Table of Contents

Introduction: Negotiation. Chapter 1: A Simple Question – What is Corruption? Chapter 2: Transformation and Slippage Chapter 3: The Local and the International as Legitimacy Chapter 4: The Good the Bad and the NGO Chapter 5: Neither Global Governmentality nor Local Resistance Chapter 6: Mimicking NGOs: Negotiating Corruption. List of Interviews

About the Author

Laura Routley is a Lecturer in Politics at Newcastle University, UK.

About the Series


The Series provides a forum for innovative and interdisciplinary work that engages with alternative critical, post-structural, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic and cultural approaches to international relations and global politics. In our first 5 years we have published 60 volumes.

We aim to advance understanding of the key areas in which scholars working within broad critical post-structural traditions have chosen to make their interventions, and to present innovative analyses of important topics. Titles in the series engage with critical thinkers in philosophy, sociology, politics and other disciplines and provide situated historical, empirical and textual studies in international politics.


We are very happy to discuss your ideas at any stage of the project: just contact us for advice or proposal guidelines. Proposals should be submitted directly to the Series Editors:

‘As Michel Foucault has famously stated, "knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting" In this spirit The Edkins - Vaughan-Williams Interventions series solicits cutting edge, critical works that challenge mainstream understandings in international relations. It is the best place to contribute post disciplinary works that think rather than merely recognize and affirm the world recycled in IR's traditional geopolitical imaginary.’

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General