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Audit failure and corporate corruption

Why Mediterranean patron-client relations are relevant for understanding the work of international accountancy firms

Cris Shore

Patron-clientelism and corruption were traditionally viewed as problems endemic to underdeveloped marginal countries with weak states, powerful self-serving elites, and widespread civic disengagement. However, recent decades have seen a dramatic increase in corruption scandals in the Global North, particularly its more developed banking and financial sectors. Paradoxically, this has occurred despite a massive expansion in auditing by international accountancy firms (KPMG, PwC, Deloitte, EY) who often portray themselves as warriors of integrity, transparency, and ethical conduct. How are these trends connected? Drawing on anthropological studies of Mediterranean patron-clientelism, I illustrate how collusive relations between accountancy firms and their clients create ideal conditions for corruption to flourish. Finally, I ask how can these accountancy scandals help us rethink patron-clientelism in an age of “audit culture”?

Open access

Into and Out of Citizenship, through Personal Tax Payments

Romanian Migrants’ Leveraging of British Self-Employment

Dora-Olivia Vicol

performance reviews and team-building exercises colonize personal time ( Adkins and Lury 1999 ; Chelcea 2015 ), and how audit cultures impose a logic of accountancy on everyday life ( Power 1997 ; Strathern 2000 ). It is puzzling, therefore, that despite the

Open access

Bringing the state back in

Corporate social responsibility and the paradoxes of Norwegian state capitalism in the international energy sector

Ståle Knudsen, Dinah Rajak, Siri Lange, and Isabelle Hugøy

, privatization, new public management (NPM), audit culture, and the like. Foucault's exploration of neoliberalism in his 1978–79 lectures at the Collège de France has inspired approaches to neoliberalism that stress how the reflexive practice of governance

Open access

A Crystal Ball for Forests?

Analyzing the Social-Ecological Impacts of Forest Conservation and Management over the Long Term

Daniel C. Miller, Pushpendra Rana, and Catherine Benson Wahlén

is, soybean production that does not come at the expense of forest loss, is rendered invisible under simple indicators for certification. In these ways, indicators can be seen as strengthening an “audit culture” ( Strathern 2000 ) and the seepage of

Open access

“The 1990s Wasn't Just a Time of Bandits; We Feminists Were Also Making Mischief!”

Celebrating Twenty Years of Feminist Enlightenment Projects in Tver’

Julie Hemment and Valentina Uspenskaya

mention some of the contradictions we confront—“audit culture,” precaritization, as well as the right-wing culture war and its impact on some universities). Our dialogue has sustained me and energized my teaching so much over the years, and I've brought