The mobilising power of corruption: assessing anticorruption movements in Brazil

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Corruption is a long-lasting problem the world over. Capitalism, modernisation, development, and democracy were not able to reduce it. If these global transformations have failed, why would people be expected to do something about it? When conditions are right, people actually do something about it, and they are sometimes victorious. But what are the contextual and institutional conditions under which constructive anticorruption social movements form and thrive? The answer to this research question is related to corruption perception and the nature of information. Using qualitative techniques such as case studies and process tracing, I analyse two anticorruption laws initiated and enacted through popular initiatives in Brazil. As in contrast, I analyse a third bill, the 10 Measures against Corruption, which was not successful, despite also counting on a significant anticorruption mobilisation. These three events depict the conditions under which people organise and react against corruption. In comparing them, information appears as a crucial variable in the mobilising process, being capable of transforming people’s apathy and cynicism into political participation.

Keywords: social movements, anticorruption, corruption, corruption perception, political participation, accountability
Date of Award1 Dec 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorAnthony Pereira (Supervisor) & Konstantinos Tsimonis (Supervisor)

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