April 20, 2018 at 1:28 pm

Musaraj Article Examines Satire, Intimacy of Corruption in Albania Investigative TV Show

Dr. Smoki Musaraj smiling with arms crossed and brick building behind her

Dr. Smoki Musaraj

Dr. Smoki Musaraj, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Ohio University, authored an article on “Corruption, Right On! Hidden Cameras, Satire and Intimacies of Anti-corruption” in Current Anthropology.

Abstract: Since 2002, the satirical investigative television show Fiks Fare (“Right On!” or “Exactly”) has aired immediately after prime-time news at a leading national broadcasting network in Albania. Through sting operations and cynical satire, the show tells the raw story of everyday experiences of corruption in Albanian society—from daily interactions with low-level public administration officers to the backroom deals of high-level officials. Over the years, Fiks Fare has endured as an effective whistle-blower in a country notorious for a lack of prosecutions and convictions on corruption charges. In this article, I explore the effects of this unlikely anti-corruption agent by drawing attention to its narratives of corruption, its technologies of investigation, and its genres of representation. I argue that, through its use of sting operations and mass mediation, the show constructs specific publics and subjects—victims, intermediaries, perpetrators—that engage in everyday corruption. Second, through its use of a genre of cynical satire and vulgar aesthetics, the show constructs a political commentary that makes visible the intimacies of corruption and the normalized complicity of ordinary people with figures of power. This genre speaks more broadly to forms of governance and of the state in a postsocialist context. I suggest that Fiks Fare remains effective over the years precisely because of the form of its critique of power, articulated not through opposition or resistance but rather through ambiguity, vulgarity, and complicity.

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