Corruption in Kosovo has been researched from a variety of perspectives with different
methodologies and various research and policy goals in mind. Dominated by
quantitative and positivistic studies, where social and historical contexts are seen as
direct contributors to corruption, or disregarded at best, the said research takes for
granted the need to understand and inquire into socio-economic and cultural relations.
Cultural beliefs and traditions, often read as backwardness, remnants of socialism, or
post-war criminality, are cited as the most frequent enabling factors, if not determinants
of Kosovo’s high level of corruption. Therefore, the need to build “a rule of law culture”
is frequently followed by discussions on Kosovo’s “transition to democratic governance
and [need to] strengthen its institutions.”1 As Samuel Zbogar, the head of EU Office in
Kosovo and EU Special Representative has declared: “In regard to the corruption we
have to build together, together with the laws, a culture of non-tolerance on corruption.
This is the European way.”
To date no ethnographies of corruption have been conducted in Kosovo. The research
presented here is a first step, as well as an argument for the necessity of deeper
ethnographic inquiry into how the legal, economic, and social worlds collide to produce
experiences, practices, and understandings of corruption.