Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL3235: Corruption, Power and Legitimacy

This module descriptor refers to the 2018/9 academic year.


NQF Level 6
Credits 30 ECTS Value 15
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (11 weeks) and term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Sam Power (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


This module will provide an encounter with contemporary issues related to the study of corruption in advanced industrial democracies in a comparative perspective. We will explore how to define corruption, how to measure it and how different theoretical approaches affect the way in which we understand what is, and what is not corrupt. We will then apply these approaches through country case studies looking at the way in which those involved in political parties respond to corruption perceptions and the way in which this affects our understanding of representative democracy.

Drawing on the latest research on corruption, we assess and challenge these theoretical foundations through the comparative examination of a range of issues related to corruption, politics and policy - such as political finance. Democracy costs, and political parties need money – but does the way in which we fund democracy add to negative perceptions? Is the financing of politics inherently at the risk of corrupting influences? You will undertake case study analysis to help illuminate these and other issues.

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