Vectors for Change? The role of civil society in curbing corruption in a post-socialist and post-conflict setting: The case of Kosovo

This thesis analyses the role of civil society in attempting to curb corruption in a post-socialist
and post-conflict setting. The aforementioned settings have previously been studied
separately, leaving out the context of societies experiencing a double transition both from
socialism and conflict. By conducting a field study in Kosovo, the double transition is studied
by collecting primary data from 11 semi-structured interviews with members from both civil
society and actors working with civil society.

The thesis is explorative and aims to contribute to theory development where Kosovo is
considered a typical case. The theoretical framework is composed of previous studies’
expectations and new insights from the material, shaping the analytical scheme. Five
analytical themes are used to explore the mechanisms of civil society’s work: understanding
corruption, influence in curbing corruption, challenges when curbing corruption, cooperation,
and influence of the post-socialist and post-conflict setting.

The findings demonstrate that civil society is quite free in its possibilities to curb corruption
because the Kosovo government does not constrain them in this regard. Civil society can,
however, be influenced by the agenda of international donors and is at risk of being
politicized. Nevertheless, civil society faces its main challenges on the ground level, which
can limit their role in conducting effective work against corruption. One of the most
interesting findings demonstrates that civil society in Kosovo might be freer than in other
countries in the Western Balkans.