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The Neoliberal Discourse on Corruption as a Means of Consent Building: reflections from post-crisis Turkey

This article draws attention to the ideological role that the neoliberal discourse on corruption has fulfilled in the promotion of the second generation reforms in Southern countries since the 1997 East Asian financial crisis. This discourse is ahistoric insofar as it fails to recognise corruption as a problem of modernity; biased insofar as it associates corruption with Southern countries' historical and cultural specificities only; contradictory in terms of its counter-productive anti-corruption strategies; and politicised as it has redefined 'corruption' as 'rent-seeking'. In the absence of alternative radical conceptualisations, this essentially competition-induced neoliberal orthodoxy on corruption has been easily articulated within morality-based popular concerns in domestic politics and hence acquired a hegemonic capability. The article substantiates these arguments by examining the trajectory of the neoliberal anti-corruption agenda in Turkey with a particular focus on the developments of the post-2001 financial crisis period.