[Call for Papers] Congress on Political Corruption

International Congress on Political Corruption Grup d’Història del Parlamentarisme



This international congress on political corruption in modern and contemporary Spain (19th to 21st centuries) is an initiative of the Parliamentarism History Group –PHG- (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), which has in recent years been working on this topic from innovative and transnational perspectives.

The PHG is seeking to analyse political corruption through different scientific disciplines and beyond present-day and institutional politics. The history of corruption is a topical subject right now, with constant scandals setting the political agenda and filling the pages of newspapers. But such scourges of our society are not new malpractices. They are rooted far back in time. For instance, during early liberalism and the implementation of parliamentary assemblies, such conducts acquired new meanings. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, major social, cultural and political changes redefined the public and private spheres, and the principles and ideas of virtue and political correctness.

We believe that political corruption should be analysed from a broad chronological and territorial perspective, i.e. by taking a careful look at the changes in the meaning of corruption from a standpoint that integrates not only the attitude of corrupt people, but also the often forgotten history of their strategies.

This includes the changing and not always clear boundaries of malpractices, and the emergence of public and critical consciousness of such behaviours. In other words, we encourage a revision of both old and new forms of modern political corruption in an inclusive scientific environment. This field is therefore open to examination from diverse disciplines and is suitable for the comparison of different international realities in order to examine the nature and singularity of each case.

So, the PHG is inviting Hispanists from modern and contemporary history, political science, law and economic history to consider these issues at the first international congress on political corruption in modern and contemporary Spain (19th to 21st centuries), which is going to be held on 14 and 15 December 2017 at the Born Centre de Cultura i Memòria in Barcelona.

The meeting will begin by introducing four main areas of analysis. Papers that address at least one of these topics will be welcome. Meanwhile, any other views related to modern and contemporary political corruption in Spain are also encouraged for submittal.


1- The concept of corruption

What we mean by this is our interest in examining the ideological bases that have sustained the concept of corruption in each historical period. Analysis of language and political speeches could shed light on the meanings adopted by this phenomenon in each era. The reasoning behind condemnation or approval of a certain political practice may also help to better define the political semantics of corruption.


2- Corruption and scandals: the changing boundaries between public and private spaces


The impact of scandals on public opinion deserves special attention. The different methods of condemnation and the active role of the media, literature, theatre and cinema in the formation of discursive hegemonies will be considered. The main aim is to revise whether old practices that were censured in the public and private spheres have changed or not. We also aim to examine the influence and social impact of the media in the assumption or rejection of new social models.


3- Parliamentary struggle against electoral fraud and political corruption

The purpose of this topic is to understand the role played by parliaments in the pursuit of electoral fraud and political corruption. By analysing parliamentary debates, commissions of inquiry and laws we aim to highlight the role of the most active political groups in exposing fraud and the effectiveness of the measures that were approved.


4- Corruption in power and public administration

Within this field the idea is to extend the debate on corruption to the most relevant political institutions of the State: Crown, governments, military and ministries, among others. Local administrations –town and provincial councils, etc.- also require special attention. Were some levels of the administration more inclined towards corruption than others? We encourage the consideration of such fields as property speculation, the awarding of public services or works -road and rail networks, etc. -, monopolies, military supplies, tax collection and others, taking into account central government and local administrations and their connection with the party system and patronage.


Proposals should be submitted by 27 January 2017 at the latest. Proposals should include a title and an abstract of the main ideas –no more than 300 words-, as well as the name of the author(s), their occupational status, the institution(s) to which they belong, their e-mail address and a short CV. Proposals should be written in English, French, Spanish or Catalan. Please send proposals to:




After the deadline, the organizing committee will consider the proposals received in terms of their quality and historiographic interest. The verdict will be announced by spring 2017. Authors whose proposals have been accepted will be asked to submit a written draft of their paper by October 2017. A registration fee of 35 euros will be required, 25 euros for those who present a communication. The details will be specified in this second announcement.


Further information at:




Scientific Committee:
· Joan Botella Corral (Professor of political science, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain)
· Pablo Diaz Morlán (Dr. of Economic History, Universitat d’Alacant, Spain)
· Jens Ivo Engels (Professor Dr. of modern and contemporary history, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany)
· Mercedes García Arán (Professor of penal law, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain)
· Isidre Molas i Batllori (Emeritus professor of political science, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain)
· Frédéric Monier (Professor of modern and contemporary history, Université d’Avignon, France)
· María Antonia Peña Guerrero (Professor of modern history, Universidad de Huelva)
. Paul Preston (Professor of modern and contemporary history, London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom)
· Joan Josep Queralt Jiménez (Professor of penal law, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain)
· Ferran Requejo i Coll (Professor of political science, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain)
· Joan Subirats i Humet (Professor of political science, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain)
· Josep Maria Vallès i Casadevall (Emeritus Professor of political science, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain)
· Ricard Vinyes Ribas (Professor of modern and contemporary history, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain and memory programmes’ commissioner of Barcelona city council)


Organizing Committee:
· Borja de Riquer i Permanyer (Emeritus professor of modern and contemporary history, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
· Maria Gemma Rubí i Casals (Lecturer in modern history, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
· Lluís Ferran Toledano González (Lecturer in modern history, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
· Oriol Luján Feliu (European Dr. of modern history, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)


This Congress is included in the activities of the network ‘International Scientific Coordination Network (GDRI) Politics & Corruption’.

This Congress is sponsored by the memory programmes’ commissioner of Barcelona city council.

[Call for Papers] Denunciation and denouncers of corruption, Aix-en-Provence, November 2016

« Denunciation and denouncers of corruption »

Do-gooders, pamphleteers and whistleblowers, 19th-20th centuries

Venue: Maison méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme (MMSH), Aix-en-Provence

17 – 18 November 2016

This two-day meeting is being organized by a group of specialists in social sciences and humanities who have been studying the social history of contemporary political corruption for several years on the international scale, focusing in particular on France and Germany. This research project is supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) in Germany and the Agence nationale de la recherche (ANR) in France.

Proposals should be submitted by 18 April 2016 at the latest to Olivier Dard (UMR IRICE, Université Paris-Sorbonne; or by mail to olivierdard@orange.fr), Cesare Mattina (UMR LAMES, Aix- Marseille Université; or by mail to cesare.mattina@univ-amu.fr) and Frédéric Monier (UMR Centre N. Elias, Université d’Avignon; or by mail to Frederic.monier@univ-avignon.fr).

General introduction

The term « corruption » is taken here to refer less to specific forms of venality defined a priori than to broader issues in which civil morality or public probity are at stake (Lascoumes, 2010). Corruption has been denounced since the late 18th. Century and the early 19th. Century by various people taking a critical stand against what they regard as the immoral practices of politicians and members of civil society and the business world.

This topic has been previously discussed at several meetings and symposia which have taken place in Germany and France. These meetings have resulted in a series of five proceedings: the latest volumes were devoted to the links between patronage and the abuse of power, scandals and the mechanisms whereby they have been widely publicized (Dard, Engels, Farmheir, Monier, 2014), and how behaviour defined as immoral has been prohibited in economic spheres (Engels, Farmheir, Monier, Dard, 2015).

The conference it is planned to hold in November 2016 will focus on the modes of denunciation and the denouncers of corruption and immoral political and economic practices. The idea of organizing this event was based on the assumption that a broad overall comparative picture of the players and movements involved is likely to shed light on how the concept of « transparency » came into being and the many acceptations acquired by the term up to the present day.

The second day of this meeting will be devoted to debates and round-table discussions with guest speakers who have been invited to participate and persons either previously or currently involved in fighting corruption and the underhand practices of some political and economic leaders, especially by denouncing them publicly. These speakers’ testimony will certainly give rise to fruitful discussions with the research scientists attending these round table meetings.

Objectives and hypotheses

Relatively few studies have dealt so far to our knowledge with the denunciation and the denouncers of corruption, although a few authors of historical studies have addressed the processes whereby scandals and politico-financial affairs have been publicized, and especially how they originated and how they were made known world-wide (Boltanski, Claverie, Offenstatd, Van Damme, 2007 ; Garrard, Newell, 2006 ; Gelz, Huser, Russ-Sattar, 2014 ; Markovitz, Silverstein, 1988 ; Thompson, 2000). On similar lines, recent sociological studies on criticism of politicians by cicil society and public interest organizations (Briquet, Garraud, 2001) have resulted in the development of analytical tools as well as various interpretations of events which have occurred since the end of the 1980s. Other studies in the field of cultural and political history have recently paved the way for a new understanding of public morality and political virtue. They suggested that ideal models had a real influence on governmental practices (Matthews, 1994 ; Biard, Bourdin, Leuwers, Touret, 2015). However, this cultural and political historical approach has attracted relatively little attention in France and Germany, and this also seems to have been the case in most of the other European countries.

It is to be hoped that this symposium will help fill this gap by stimulating collective thinking about the denunciation of corruption, which is taken to constitute a complex social fact. The aim in particular is to build a comprehensive comparative historical sociological picture of the main individual and collective players who have taken an ethical stand against corruption and denounced what they have regarded as illegal and/or immoral practices. These issues raise questions as to how specialised denouncers of corruption came into existence, such as the libelists at the end of the Ancien Régime and the 21st. Century pamphleteers, to quote a more contemporary example. Many facts still remain to be established about the individuals and the political groups who have set themselves up for various reasons as defenders of a cause or upholders of civic morality by denouncing the corruption of those in power. Other questions also arise about how corruption is advertised and judged: it will be necessary in particular to examine the discrepancies which have frequently occurred between the penal sentences pronounced by legal institutions and the moral judgements and ideological positions of some of the other people involved. Thanks to the geographical and chronological diversity of the situations observed, it should be possible to distinguish between common, general historical processes and more specific, particular characteristics. According to the hypothesis it is proposed to discuss here, drawing up a historical sociological account of these denouncers and their networks is not an end in itself. This meeting is intended rather to shed light on the genesis of the concept of transparency, which has become a central issue these days at both national and international levels. The latest debates about transparency – or about underlying themes such as the right to individual privacy and financial accountability – have shown that differences of interpretation have often occurred. Some authors have suggested that the “dream of transparency » is a kind of anthropological constant (Schneider, 2013), whereas others have claimed that transparency is a relatively novel idea (Monier, 2013). In its present form, the concept of transparency emerged between the 1970s and 1990s in various countries in the wake of the profound social mutations triggered by the “long 1968” (Sherman et al. 2013): this concept is thought to have paved the way for new cultural and political codes. Another widely held opinion is that transparency does not differ very significantly from publicity, one of the main constitutive components of present-day society. If this is the case, transparency can be said to date back to the days of the Enlightenment, when all the processes of transition and scission between the modern and contemporary worlds were initiated (Requate, Wessel, 2002).

This historical outline will no doubt suggest some reflections on further issues which arise about the fact that corruption is generally taken these days to mean the misuse of public responsibility for personal ends. In other words, the ever vacillating borderline between the public and private spheres was partly created by the denunciation of corruption (Engels, 2014). The aim of this historical sociological project is therefore not just to understand current principles of public morality. It is also intended to elucidate the long, complex process of separation which has tended to occur between the State and civil society in many countries at the present time.

The main themes on which this call for papers focuses

The questions which arise in this context relate not only to broad socio-historical changes but also to much narrower topics. Contributions dealing either with a single country or several countries, including those based on a comparative approach, will be welcome. At least one of the following topics should be addressed:

1) How are denunciations written?

Under this heading, we are interested in examining the rhetorical devices used to denounce corruption and unethical political practices and the various linguistic and semantic registers adopted by the denouncers. Denunciations are published not only in editorials and other appropriate forms such as pamphlets, critical essays, tracts, blogs, etc., but they can also be found in the general press and in legal and administrative files, which might be expected a priori to be neutral and dispassionate. In what terms are corruption, favouritism and political clientelism stigmatized? Does the discourse used for this purpose in various societies show a high level of linguistic innovation?

2) What exactly is denounced?

What micro political practices tend to be denounced, and how truthful are the descriptions of the malpractices denounced? With what concrete events are these criticisms usually associated? How can confusions, superimpositions and contradictions be detected between the terms employed and the evils denounced? Does the denunciation of personal political graft always involve naming specific individuals and networks? Is a shift liable to occur from denouncing public figures for tactical reasons to criticizing a whole system on the grounds of immorality and corruption?

3) Who are the denouncers?

Apart from the rhetorical devices used and the unethical practices denounced, who are the people who have written these denunciations? Whether or not a whole-scale process of denunciation and political criticism has been developed, what cross-links can be detected between denouncers’ practices and their personal histories? Are their backgrounds, occupational paths, social status and political position decisive factors? Does the occurrence of schisms and divergences explain why some people go in for denunciation more than others? We hope to receive contributions about various figures who have denounced corruption and political immorality, such as journalists in the press and other media, do-gooders, pamphleteers and essayists, politicians, civil servants, magistrates, members of the police force, members of militant associations, etc.

4) When do denouncements occur?

It seems reasonable to assume that denunciations do not occur all the time. It is therefore proposed to examine the question as to what contexts are the most favourable or unfavourable, which might explain why denoucements take place at some times and not at others. What were the underlying strategies and calculations involved? What were the people who were denounced expected to do next? Questions of this kind are particularly relevant in the case of individuals grappling with political career strategies, journalists torn between the legal constraints imposed and the wish to present the truth openly, etc.

5) What interactions are involved in the process of denunciation?

The interactions between denouncers and the denounced play an important role in the process of denunciation and accusations of corruption flung at elected members of society. The “denounced” often retaliate by producing actions and discourse which it would be well worth studying: this aspect has not attracted much attention so far in the field of social science. We must not overlook the fact that public figures who have been denounced are tending increasingly these days to call on their communications teams or expert advisers to draw up appropriate defence and retaliation strategies.

The organization of the conference

In this call for papers, we are targeting participants from all the branches of social science, including those interested in the historical, political science, sociological, anthropological, information and communication science and linguistic aspects of social science. Proposals can be written in any of the four following languages: English, French, German and Italian. The oral presentations (lasting not more than 15-20 minutes) can be made in English, French or German, but the text of any accompanying material used (slides, photocopies, etc.) shoud be in either English or French.

Proposals should be submitted by 18 April 2016 at the latest to Olivier Dard (UMR IRICE, Université Paris-Sorbonne; or by mail to olivierdard@orange.fr), Cesare Mattina (UMR LAMES, Aix- Marseille Université; or by mail to cesare.mattina@univ-amu.fr) and Frédéric Monier (UMR Centre N. Elias, Université d’Avignon; or by mail to Frederic.monier@univ-avignon.fr).

These short proposals (approxiately 2.500 to 3.500 characters in length) should include the authors’ personal details, their occupational status, the institution(s) on which they depend and their e-mail address. Prior to the Symposium, authors whose proposals have been accepted will be requested to submit a 10.000-character summary of their paper, which will constitute the basis of a full scientific paper to be published subsequently in the Proceedings of the Symposium: the production of this collective volume will be supported by the Agence nationale de la recherche.

Scientific Committee:

Jean-Louis Briquet (political scientist, CES-Paris 1)
Annie Collovald (sociologist, CENS, Université de Nantes)
Olivier Dard, (historian, IRICE, Université Paris-Sorbonne)
Gilles Favarel-Garrigues (political scientist, CERI)
Jean Ivo Engels (historian, Darmstadt Technical University)
Andreas Fahrmeir (historian, Goethe University Frankfurt)
Cesare Mattina (sociologist, LAMES, AMU-CNRS)
Frédéric Monier (historian, Centre Norbert Elias, Université d’Avignon)
Laurence Montel (historian, CRHQ, Université de Caen)
Laurent Mucchielli (sociologist, LAMES, AMU-CNRS)
Jacques Walter (information and communication science, CREM, Université de Lorraine)

Organizing Committee:

Brigitte Coche, LAMES, AMU-CNRS
 ; Sylvie Chiousse, LAMES, AMU-CNRS
 ; Tommaso Giuriati, LAMES-AMU / Université de Corte ; Nicolas Maïsetti, LATTS Marne-la-Vallée
 ; Cesare Mattina, LAMES, AMU-CNRS ; 
Frédéric Monier, Centre Norbert Elias, Université d’Avignon ; Laurent Mucchielli, LAMES, AMU-CNRS
 ; Jean-Baptiste Papa, Centre Norbert Elias, Université d’Avignon ; Pierre-Olivier Weiss, LAMES, AMU-CNRS

Accepted proposals will be listed on the page presenting the “Politics and corruption” (POC/K) project. This page will be published on the website of les carnets de POC/K [http://hypotheses.org] and on the Norbert Elias site [http://Centre- norbert-elias.ehess.fr], that of EHESS (école des hautes études en sciences sociales) and that of LAMES [www.lames.cnrs.fr].

The Scientific Committee undertakes to abide by the academic rules of deontology and anti-plagiarim defined by the group headed by Michelle Bergadaà at the University of Geneva http://responsable.unige.ch]


Biard Michel, Bourdin Philippe, Leuwers Hervé, Touret Alain (dir.), Vertu et politique. Les pratiques des législateurs (1789- 2014), Rennes, PUR, 2015.

Boltanski Luc, Elisabeth Claverie, Nicolas Offestandt, Stéphane Van Damme (dir.), Affaires, scandales et grandes causes. De Socrate à Pinochet, Paris, Stock, 2007

Briquet Jean-Louis, Garraud Philippe (dir.), Juger la politique. Entreprises et entrepreneurs de la politique, Rennes, PUR, 2001.

Dard Olivier, Engels Jens Ivo, Fahrmeir Andreas, Monier Frédéric (dir.), Scandales et corruption à l’époque contemporaine, Paris, A. Colin, 2014

Engels Jens Ivo, Die Geschichte der Korruption, von der frühen Neuzeit bis ins 20. Jahrhundert, Francfort, S. Fischer, 2014

Engels Jens-Ivo, Monier Frédéric, Petiteau Nathalie (dir.), La Politique vue d’en bas. Pratiques privées et débats publics dans l’Europe contemporaine, Paris, A. Colin, 2012

Engels Jens Ivo, Fahrmeir Andreas, Monier Frédéric, Dard Olivier (dir.), Krumme Touren in der Wirtschaft. Zur geschichte ethischen Fehlverhaltens und seiner Bekämpfung, Köln, Böhlau, 2015.

Garrard John, Newell James (dir.), Scandals in past and contemporary politics, Manchester, Manchester University press, 2006.

Gelz Andreas, Hüser Dietmar, Russ-Sattar Sabine (dir.), Skandale zwischen Moderne und Postmoderne, Berlin/New York, De Gruyter, 2014

Lascoumes Pierre (dir.), Favoritisme et corruption à la française. Petits arrangements avec la probité, Paris, Presses de sciences po, 2010.

Markovits Andrei S., Silverstein Merril (dir.), The politics of scandal : power and process in liberal democracies, New York, Holmes and Meier, 1988

Matthews Richard K. (dir.), Virtue, corruption and self-interest: political values in the eighteenth century, Bethlehem, Lehigh University press, 1994.

Monier Frédéric, Corruption et politique : rien de nouveau ?, Paris, A. Colin, 2011.

Monier Frédéric, Olivier Dard, Jean Ivo Engels (dir.), Patronage et corruption politiques dans l’Europe contemporaine, Paris, Colin, 2014.

Requate Jorg, Wessel M. Schulze (dir.), Europäische Öffentlichkeit : Transnationale Kommunikation seit dem 18. Jahrhundert, Francfort/New York, Campus, 2002.

Schneider Manfred, Transparenztraum. Literatur, Politik, Medien und das Unmögliche, Berlin, Mathes § Seitz, 2013. Sherman Daniel et al. (dir.), The long 1968: revisions and new perspectives, Bloomington, Indiana university press, 2013.

Thompson John, Political scandal : power and visibility in the Media age, Cambridge, Polity press, 2000.

[APPEL À CONTRIBUTION] Favors, influence and corruption: culture and politics in modern and contemporary times (19th-20th centuries)

Two conferences will take place within the framework of a Franco-German research program dedicated to the « Political Corruption: Practices of favor and public debates in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries”. This program, supported by the ANR (National Agency of Research) and DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft), has two coordinators: Jens Ivo Engels (Darmstadt University of Technology) and Frédéric Monier (University of Avignon), in partnership with Natalie Petiteau (University of Avignon), Andreas Fahrmeir (Goethe University of Frankfurt) and Olivier Dard (University of Metz).

Besides the organizers, Giorgio Blundo (EHESS), Pierre Lascoumes (CNRS) and Christophe Prochasson (EHESS) belong to the scientific committee.

These two conferences are planned in France, at the University of Metz (September 2012) and the University of Avignon (May 2013). A third meeting will present the synthesis of the whole work. It will take place in Germany, at the University of Frankfurt, in October 2013.

These conferences will pursue and extend the discussions started at previous meetings, in Darmstadt (March 2009, Legitimation, Integration, Korruption: Patronage in früher Neuzeit und Moderne, led by RG Asch, B. Emich and JI. Engels) and Avignon (May 2010, Les Européens et le pouvoir politique, led by N. Petiteau and F. Monier).

Both conferences, in Metz (2012) and Avignon (2013), are organized with support from the Norbert Elias research center (UMR 8562), the Lorraine University Regional Center of History (CRULH), the history seminar at the University of Darmstadt, among others.


Over the past twenty years, discussions on political corruption have taken on considerable importance. In many countries, as well as within international organizations, these debates have led to the creation of new standards, designed to eradicate corruption in the name of transparency (for France, see Monier, 2011). By contrast, the historical study of the phenomenon is still in its infancy, especially as regards comparative research (Engels, 2006 and 2008).

This comparative project aims to show how the phenomena of corruption have emerged in their current forms, in Europe between the early nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century. It will take a close look at the deep, longer-term changes which affected patterns of political corrution, from the 1970s onwards, and will attempt to take on board insights derived from the study of other cultural areas – particularly North America -.

Breaking with the Old Regime system marked by aristocratic patronage, the politicization of society and the institutionalization of the state created an ‘absolute’ criticism of corruption, at the turn from the eighteenth to the nineteenth century (Engels, 2006). Far from being timeless, political corruption has a history.

Today, common sense defines it as the abuse of public position for private purposes. One objective of these meetings is to show how the concept of corruption refers to practices of  favor and  uses of influence on the one hand , and their perception by the public on the other, in different countries at various times: perceptions and practices vary over time and space.

The project captures the phenomena of corruption in their two constituent dimensions: practices dominated by political favors; and the processes of publicity which, together with the rise of the mass media or the “new visibility”, have transformed the scandals into a recurring form of public debates (Thompson, 2000, Engels, 2009).

This raises questions about public morality and the cultural construction of “indignation”, in defence of the common good and general interest (Jankowski, 2008). Taking into account the differences between political models and national traditions in various countries, one expects that comparative studies can provide certain spotlights :  on national characteristics and common trends, which have not hitherto been emphasised in scientific research on corruption.

Thematic and scientific perspectives

Four themes are scheduled for these meetings.

1 / The political economy of favors: public standards and private practices
2/ The networks of influence: patronage, clientelism and interests
3/ The corruption debates:  scandals and their actors
4/ Uses of “indignation”: civic morals, collective myths and political strategies.

The organizers have adopted a historical and constructivist perspective. Nevertheless, the call for papers is addressed to specialists of various social sciences – sociology, anthropology, political science, and history of law as well-.

In the same vein, the project  focuses on the whole historical sequence, from around 1800 and can accommodate contributions analysing very recent history – from the 1980s -.

Lastly, although the west European area is at the heart of the investigation, proposals dealing with other European countries or North America, are very welcome.

The general assumption is that phenomena related to patronage and corruption are neither anthropological constants, nor forms of deviance, which can be defined a priori. The papers are welcome to discuss and criticise these scientific postulates.


Paper proposals, up to 400 words, can be submitted in German, English and French. We would expect (short) presentations to be in English.

Proposals should be submitted until 30 June 2011, to Jens Ivo Engels and Frederic Monier.



The Scientific Committee will respond by September 15, 2011.

Successful proposals will be published on the website of the « Politics and Corruption » program ( les carnets de POC / K, at  http://hypotheses.org -under construction).

The organizers commit themselves to follow the academic rules of respect for ethics and the fight against fraud, as Michelle Bergaada, at University of Geneva, defined them ( http://responsable.unige.ch /)

References and citations

BÖSCH, Franck, (2009), Öffentliche Geheimnisse: Skandale, Politik und Medien in Deutschland und Großbritannien, 1880-1914, München.

DE BLIC, Damien, et LEMIEUX, Cyril, (2005), « Le scandale comme épreuve. Éléments de sociologie pragmatique », in: Politix 3, N° 71 , p.9-38.

ENGELS, Jens Ivo, (2006), « Politische Korruption in der Moderne. Debatten und Praktiken in Großbritannien und Deutschland im 19. Jahrhundert », in: Historische Zeitschrift 282, p. 313-350.

Engels, Jens Ivo (2008), „Corruption as a Political Issue in Modern Societies: France, Great Britain and the United States in the Long 19th Century”, in: Public Voices X, N° 2, p.68-86.

Engels, Jens Ivo (2009), „Revolution und Panama. Korruptionsdebatten als Systemkritik in Frankreich vom 18. Jahrhundert bis zur Dritten Republik“, in: Engels, Jens Ivo/ Fahrmeir, Andreas/ Nützenadel, Alexander (Hrsg.) (2009), Geld – Geschenke – Politik. Korruption im neuzeitlichen Europa (Beihefte der Historischen  Zeitschrift 48), München, p.143-174.

JANKOWSKI, Paul, (2008), Shades of indignation : political scandals in France, past and present, New York /Oxford.

LASCOUMES, Pierre, [dir.], (2010), Favoritisme et corruption à la française: petits arrangements avec la probité, Paris.

MONIER, Frédéric, (2007), La politique des plaintes. Clientélisme et demandes sociales dans le Vaucluse d’Edouard Daladier (1890-1940), Paris.

MONIER, Frédéric, (2011), Corruption et politique: rien de nouveau?, Paris.

REQUATE, Jörg (dir.) (2009): Das 19. Jahrhundert als Mediengesellschaft – Les médias au XIXe siècle, München.

THOMPSON, John B., (2000), Political scandal: power and visibility in the Media age, Cambridge.


[APPEL À CONTRIBUTION] Faveurs, influence et corruption: culture et politique à l’époque contemporaine.

Appel à contributions: colloques de Metz (2012) et Avignon (2013)

Faveurs, influence et corruption:  culture et politique à l’époque contemporaine.

Deux colloques doivent avoir lieu dans le cadre d’un programme de recherche franco-allemand sur la « corruption politique: pratiques de la faveur et débats publics aux XIXe et XXe siècles ». Ce programme, soutenu par l’ANR (agence nationale de la recherche) et la DFG (deutsche forschungsgemeinschaft), est coordonné par  Jens Ivo Engels (université technique de Darmstadt) et Frédéric Monier (université d’Avignon), avec Natalie Petiteau (université d’Avignon), Andreas Fahrmeir (université Goethe de Francfort) et Olivier Dard (université de Metz).

Le comité scientifique est composé en outre de Giorgio Blundo (EHESS), Pierre Lascoumes (CNRS) et Christophe Prochasson (EHESS).

Ces deux colloques sont prévus en France, à l’université de Metz (septembre 2012) et à l’université d’Avignon (mai 2013). La synthèse des travaux sera présentée en Allemagne, à l’université de Francfort, en octobre 2013.

Ces manifestations s’inscrivent dans le fil de débats ouverts aux colloques de Darmstadt (mars 2009, Legitimation, Integration, Korruption: Patronage in früher Neuzeit und Moderne, dirigé par R. G. Asch, B. Emich et J. I. Engels) et d’Avignon (mai 2010, Les Européens et le pouvoir politique, dirigé par N. Petiteau et F. Monier).

Les colloques de Metz (2012) et d’Avignon (2013) sont organisés avec le soutien du centre Norbert Elias (UMR 8562), du centre régional universitaire lorrain d’Histoire (CRULH), du séminaire d’histoire de l’université de Darmstadt, notamment.

Présentation générale


Au cours des vingt dernières années, les débats collectifs sur la corruption politique ont pris une importance considérable. Dans de nombreux pays, comme au plan international, ces débats ont abouti à la création de nouvelles normes, visant à éradiquer la corruption, au nom de la transparence (pour la France, Monier, 2011). Par contraste, l’étude historique du phénomène est encore à ses débuts, particulièrement les recherches comparatistes (Engels, 2006 et 2008). Ce projet comparatiste veut montrer comment les phénomènes de corruption, dans leurs formes actuelles, sont apparus, en Europe, entre le début du XIXe siècle et la première moitié du XXe siècle, avant d’évoluer fortement au cours du XXe siècle. Des éclairages mériteraient d’être apportés sur d’autres aires culturelles – notamment nord-américaines -.

Rompant avec les systèmes d’Ancien régime marqués par les patronages aristocratiques, la politisation des sociétés et l’institutionnalisation de l’État créent une critique absolue de la corruption, à partir du tournant des XVIIIe et XIXe siècles (Engels, 2006).  Loin d’être atemporelle, la corruption politique a d’abord une histoire. Aujourd’hui, le sens commun y voit l’abus d’une position publique à des fins privées. L’un des objectifs de ces colloques est de montrer comment, dans  différents pays, la notion de corruption renvoie à des pratiques d’influence, ainsi qu’à leurs perceptions par le public: pratiques et perceptions varient selon les temps et les lieux.

Le projet appréhende les phénomènes de corruption dans leurs deux dimensions constitutives: des pratiques politiques dominées par des faveurs; des modes de publicisation qui, avec l’essor des médias de masse ou de la « visibilité médiatisée », constituent les scandales et les affaires en moments des débats publics (Thompson, 2000, Engels, 2009).

Cela fait surgir des interrogations sur la morale publique et sur la construction culturelle de modèles idéaux, concernant le bien commun et l’intérêt général. Compte tenu des modèles étatiques et des traditions politiques propres aux différents pays, on attend de la recherche comparative certains éclairages: sur les particularités nationales et les tendances généralisables  – ce sur quoi la recherche sur la corruption s’est peu étendue jusqu’ici -.

Thématiques et perspectives scientifiques

Quatre thématiques ont été choisies pour les deux colloques prévus.

1/L’économie politique des faveurs: normes publiques et pratiques privées

2/Les réseaux d’influence: patronages, clientélismes et intérêts

3/La corruption en débats: les scandales et leurs acteurs

4/ Les usages de l’indignation: morales civiques, mythes collectifs et stratégies politiques.

Si une perspective historique – et constructiviste – a été retenue, les appels à contribution s’adressent à l’ensemble des chercheurs en sciences sociales – sociologie, anthropologie, science politique -, comme aux spécialistes d’histoire du droit. Dans le même esprit, si le projet est axé sur l’ensemble de la séquence historique, ouverte dans les années 1800, les colloques peuvent accueillir des contributions traitant de l’histoire très récente – depuis les années 1980 -. Enfin, si l’aire ouest-européenne est au cœur de l’enquête, des propositions portant sur d’autres pays européens, ou  nord-américains, peuvent être adressées.

L’hypothèse générale est que les phénomènes relevant des faveurs et de la corruption politiques ne correspondent ni à des constantes anthropologiques, ni à des formes de déviance définies a priori. Ces postulats scientifiques pourront être discutés dans les contributions.

En bref, ce sont les objectifs scientifiques qui détermineront, en pratique, l’agencement intellectuel des colloques.

Objectifs de recherche

Les débats sur la corruption sont un moyen d’accès qui permet d’analyser les modifications progressives des paysages politiques.  On peut penser notamment aux périodes de guerre, qui, sur le plan économique, se présentent comme des moments  caractérisés par des pratiques corrompues, ainsi que par de vifs débats sur les « profiteurs de guerre ». De façon générale, les différentes sociétés, – ouest-européennes en particulier -, sont marquées par une exigence de pluralisme. Souvent, des acteurs nouveaux sur la scène publique se sont faits les porte-drapeaux d’une morale politique face à la corruption attribuée au pouvoir en place. On peut, par exemple, estimer que les révolutions, ou les changements de systèmes politiques, cristallisent ces débats, autour de la corruption attribuée aux « privilégiés », membres d’anciennes élites.

Enjeux de conflits politiques, modes – souvent paradoxaux – de production de normes disputées, les débats sur la corruption méritent donc d’être revisités.


La question doit être soulevée, dans une autre perspective, des processus qui ont fait évoluer les pratiques de faveur entre gouvernants, fonctionnaires et milieux d’affaires, mais aussi entre gouvernants, fonctionnaires et simples sujets, et/ou citoyens (Monier, 2007). Des enquêtes récentes, à l’échelle nationale, confirment que les pratiques ordinaires de favoritisme pèsent sur les perceptions de la corruption politique (Lascoumes, 2010). Dans une perspective historique, on constate une réorganisation des structures de clientèle et de patronage. Celle-ci est liée à l’évolution des normes de conduite qui règlent l’économie politique des faveurs et le maintien des loyautés, ou des fidélités. On peut ainsi penser aux transformations des réseaux locaux, ou communaux, qui, en particulier dans les villes, régulent l’attribution des contrats (immeubles, marchés publics).

Mais au-delà, ces exigences croissantes induisent la modification d’habitudes acquises par les élites. Ainsi en va-t-il, par exemple, pour la diplomatie: la modification des pratiques de faveur, comme les changements de nature des cadeaux diplomatiques, s’inscrivent dans un processus général marqué par la professionnalisation de la diplomatie et l’acquisition de nouvelles normes.


A la croisée des pratiques de faveurs et des débats publics, le scandale est un lieu d’observation des réactions du plus grand nombre. Objet de recherches en cours venues, côté français, de sociologues du politique et des médias (De Blic/Lemieux 2007), les scandales de corruption  n’ont fait l’objet d’aucune approche comparatiste, à de rares exceptions près (Bösch, 2009). Toutefois, des études comparatives concernant l’histoire des médias sont disponibles, dans lesquelles des scandales sont  traités ( Requate 2009).

Si l’on adopte la perspective selon laquelle un scandale existe d’abord et avant tout par son public, l’analyse de ces publics successifs fait émerger les mécanismes de mobilisation et d’indignation (Jankowski 2008). Se dessinent ainsi, en creux, les seuils de tolérance à la corruption propres à chacune des sociétés à différents moments. L’analyse de ces publics permet de relire les représentations culturelles, morales, civiques que les sujets et les citoyens se font du pouvoir et des hommes qui l’exercent.


Les propositions de contributions pourront être adressées en trois langues: allemand, anglais et français. Une présentation en anglais sera demandée.

Les propositions pourront être adressées jusqu’au 30 juin 2011, à Jens Ivo Engels et à Frédéric Monier.



Le comité scientifique apportera une réponse avant le 15 septembre 2011.

Les propositions retenues seront publiées sur la page de présentation du projet « Politique et corruption » (POC/K). Cette page sera disponible sur le site du projet, les carnets de POC/K à http://hypotheses.org, ainsi que sur le internet du centre Norbert Elias, à l’EHESS (école des hautes études en sciences sociales), à. http://Centre-norbert-elias.ehess.fr

Le comité scientifique s’engage à suivre les règles académiques de respect de la déontologie et de lutte contre la fraude, définies par l’équipe dirigée par Michelle Bergaada de l’université de Genève http://responsable.unige.ch

Références bibliographiques

BÖSCH, Franck, (2009), Öffentliche Geheimnisse: Skandale, Politik und Medien in Deutschland und Großbritannien, 1880-1914, München.

DE BLIC, Damien, et LEMIEUX, Cyril, (2005), « Le scandale comme épreuve. Éléments de sociologie pragmatique », in: Politix 3, N° 71 , p.9-38.

ENGELS, Jens Ivo, (2006), « Politische Korruption in der Moderne. Debatten und Praktiken in Großbritannien und Deutschland im 19. Jahrhundert », in: Historische Zeitschrift 282, p. 313-350.

ENGELS, Jens Ivo (2008), „Corruption as a Political Issue in Modern Societies: France, Great Britain and the United States in the Long 19th Century”, in: Public Voices X, N° 2, p.68-86.

ENGELS, Jens Ivo (2009), „Revolution und Panama. Korruptionsdebatten als Systemkritik in Frankreich vom 18. Jahrhundert bis zur Dritten Republik“, in: Engels, Jens Ivo/ Fahrmeir, Andreas/ Nützenadel, Alexander (Hrsg.) (2009), Geld – Geschenke – Politik. Korruption im neuzeitlichen Europa (Beihefte der Historischen  Zeitschrift 48), München, p.143-174.

JANKOWSKI, Paul, (2008), Shades of indignation : political scandals in France, past and present, New York /Oxford.

LASCOUMES, Pierre, [dir.], (2010), Favoritisme et corruption à la française: petits arrangements avec la probité, Paris.

MONIER, Frédéric, (2007), La politique des plaintes. Clientélisme et demandes sociales dans le Vaucluse d’Edouard Daladier (1890-1940), Paris.

MONIER, Frédéric, (2011), Corruption et politique: rien de nouveau?, Paris.

REQUATE, Jörg (dir.) (2009): Das 19. Jahrhundert als Mediengesellschaft – Les médias au XIXe siècle, München.

THOMPSON, John B., (2000), Political scandal: power and visibility in the Media age, Cambridge.