In 2012 a new law in the matter of transparency and anti-corruption was approved in Italy. The law has set within new frames the understanding of corruption mechanisms, as well as the definition of core concepts of the anti-corruption discourse, such as ‘prevention’ and ‘transparency’. Moreover it has also re-defined the roles and tasks of actors and employees of the public sector. In December 2013 the city of Monza, Northern Italy, was hit by the biggest corruption scandal of its history. Investigations evidenced the existence of a well run system of corruptive practices between the public sector and the City Council, which were aimed at favouring certain companies for public works and calls for tenders.
The recent events that occurred in Monza acquired even more relevance in light of the principles contained in the new legislation, particularly its stress on anti-corruption discourses (and rhetoric), as well as on the practical and performative role of virtues and ethical values in the public office.
This paper looks at how employees of Monza City Council perceived and (re)signified corruption as a whole consequent to the 2013 scandal and to the introduction of the new law, not only considering their impact at a local level, but also in a wider perspective in relation to corruption perception and practices at a national level.