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LUXCORE Final Conference: Luxury, Corruption and Global Ethics

Updated: Mar 4

Luxury, Corruption and Global Ethics

Challenging Anti-Policies and Audit Cultures


LUXCORE Final Conference

March 6, 2024

Historical Museum, University of Oslo

Frederiks gate 2, 0164, Oslo 

Registration Link: 

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This is the final conference of the research project Luxury, Corruption and Global Ethics: Towards a Critical Theory of the Moral Economy of Fraud (LUXCORE), funded by The Research Council of Norway (313004). Presenting some of the key results, we will also outline new perspectives on the relationship between luxury, corruption and global ethics. Crucially, our research has challenged the hegemonic anti-policies (anti-corruption, anti-money laundering, anti-trafficking and so on) and their logic, the ways in which they stimulate the growth of audit cultures and the ‘compliance-industrial complex’ (Kuldova 2022) at large. This is important because the ‘solutions’ that anti-policies promote – the various compliance, technological, and regulatory ‘fixes’ – fail time and again. Despite decades of anti-corruption and related ‘wars on’ all possible evils, crimes, and harms, and despite the rapidly proliferating ‘best practices’, ‘good governance’ strategies, guidelines, standards, rules, regulatory technologies, compliance and due diligence procedures, and so on, we seem to be further away from achieving any meaningful change. The conference will unpack this vicious circle of compliance and defiance, asking how we can envision positive alternatives. For behind the drive of anti-policies towards eliminating crimes, frauds, threats and so on, there is startling lack of any positive vision for our societies. 


During the event, we will present 3 monographs and 1 edited volume, which have been central to the project. The programme promises engaging book launches, panel discussions with authors, and a teaser of our forthcoming edited volume comprising a series of short presentations by authors. We hope to see you at the Historical Museum – and do not forget to register!

Conference Organizers

Tereza Østbø Kuldova, Oslo Metropolitan University

Håkon Roland, University of Oslo

Jardar Østbø, Norwegian Institute of Defence Studies


This conference is part of the project Luxury, Corruption and Global Ethics: Towards a Critical Theory of the Moral Economy of Fraud (LUXCORE), funded by The Research Council of Norway (313004). The event is organized jointly by the Oslo Metropolitan University and the University of Oslo, and in collaboration with the Cultural Crime Research Network (CULTcrime).

Conference Program


10:00 – 10:10

Opening and Welcome

by Tereza Østbø Kuldova (Oslo Metropolitan University), Project Leader of LUXCORE


10:10 - 10:40

Book presentation: Compliance-Industrial Complex: The Operating System of a Pre-Crime Society by Tereza Østbø Kuldova (Oslo Metropolitan University)


10:40 - 11:10

Comments by discussants and Q&A

Discussants: Steven Sampson (University of Lund) & Kristin Reichborn-Kjennerud (Oslo Metropolitan University)


11:10 - 11:30 Coffee Break


11:30 - 12:00 

by Tereza Østbø Kuldova (Oslo Metropolitan University), Jardar Østbø (Norwegian Defence University College), and Thomas Raymen (Northumbria University)


12:00 - 12:30

Comments by discussants and Q&A

Discussants: Simon Winlow (Northumbria University), and Thomas Duke Labik Amanquandor (University of Oslo)


12:30 – 13:30 Lunch


13:30 - 14:00 

by Cris Shore (Central European University) and Susan Wright (Aarhus University)


14:00 – 14:30

Comments by discussants and Q&A

Discussants: Helene O. I. Gundhus (University of Oslo) and Thomas Hylland Eriksen (University of Oslo)


14:30 – 14:50 Coffee Break


14:50 – 15:10

Edited Volume Teaser / Short Presentation

Compliance, Defiance and ‘Dirty’: Towards New Perspectives on Anti-Corruption in Elite Contexts (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming)

by editors Tereza Østbø Kuldova (Oslo Metropolitan University), Jardar Østbø (Norwegian Defence University College), and Cris Shore (Central European University)


15:10 – 16:00  

Presentations of Selected Chapters

Chapter 6: Ethics Without Agents: Corruption, Financial Crime, and the Interpassive ‘Ethics’ of Compliance by Thomas Raymen (Northumbria University)


Chapter 7: Road to Compliance in Post-Socialist Czechia: From Anti-Organized Crime via Anti-Corruption to the Commodification of Serious Crime Control by Petr Kupka (University of West Bohemia)

Chapter 10: Policy, Governance, and Compliance: Illicit Cultural Heritage Artefacts and the Construction of Value by Håkon Roland (University of Oslo)

Chapter 13: Clean Conscience from ‘Dirty Luxury’: Compliance, Profitable Unhappiness and the Handwashing of Social harm and Sexual Exploitation by Daniel Briggs (Northumbria University)

Chapter 14: Labour Migration, Crime, and ‘Compliance Washing’: A Tailor’s Odyssey from an African Workshop to European Luxury Fashion Multinationals by Audrey Millet (University of Bologna) and Tereza Østbø Kuldova (Oslo Metropolitan University)


16:00 – 16:25

Comments by discussants and Q&A

Discussant: Christopher Prescott (University of Oslo) & Emil André Røyrvik (NTNU)


16:25 - 16:30

Closing Remarks

by Jardar Østbø



Dinner for Speakers


Tereza Østbø Kuldova


This is the first book to examine the growth and phenomenon of a securitized and criminalized compliance which relies increasingly on intelligence-led and predictive technologies to control future risks, crimes, and security threats. It articulates the emergence of a ‘compliance-industrial complex’ that synthesizes regulatory capitalism and surveillance capitalism to impose new regimes of power and control, as well as new forms of subjectivity subservient to the ‘operating system’ of a pre-crime society. Looking at compliance beyond frameworks of business management, corporate governance, law, and accounting, it looks as it as a social phenomenon, instrumental in the pluralization and privatization of policing, where the private intelligence, private security, and big tech companies are being concentrated at the very core of compliance, and hence, governance of the social. This critical work draws on transversal, rather than interdisciplinary, approaches and integrates disparate perspectives, inspired by works in critical criminology, critical algorithm studies, critical management studies, as well as social anthropology and philosophy.


‘Kuldova’s book offers a short and powerful summary of the ideology that largely supports the automation of society.’ (Algorithm Watch,, November 1, 2022)


‘It’s often been said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Kuldova's cutting-edge research into what she calls the 'compliance-industrial complex' reveals in fine detail how new hi-tech systems of algorithmic information gathering and social management, while claiming to make the world a safer and better place, are dehumanising our everyday lives, displacing democratic politics, threatening hard-won freedoms and pushing us along that very road at an increasing pace. Very few academic research monographs can be legitimately described as ‘page-turners’, but this is one of them.’ - Professor Steve Hall, author of Theorizing Crime and Deviance




Tereza Østbø Kuldova, Jardar Østbø and Thomas Raymen


The world has been bombarded in recent years with images of the luxurious lives and wealth of corrupt oligarchs and kleptocrats, amassed at the expense of ordinary people. Such images exploit our feelings of injustice, are taken as indicative of moral decay, and inspire a desire to purge our economies of dirty money, objects, and people. But why do anti-corruption efforts routinely fail? What kind of world are they creating? Looking at luxury art, antiquities, superyachts, and populist politics, this book explores the connection between luxury and corruption, and offers an alternative to the received wisdom of how we tackle corruption.


‘Transformative. The most important book on corruption to have emerged in decades.’ – Simon Winlow, Northumbria University


‘Examines the practices of anti-corruption in fine detail and hitherto unplumbed depth. (…) Cutting-edge research, sophisticated analysis, and essential reading.’ – Steve Hall, Northumbria University


‘Interrogating the trinity of high-end luxury, the anti-corruption and compliance industries, and (the lack of) ethics, Luxury and Corruption reveals core contradictions and dynamics that drive contemporary capitalism. A fascinating read.’ – Janine Wedel, George Mason University


Cris Shore and Susan Wright


All aspects of our work and private lives are increasingly measured and managed. But how has this 'audit culture' arisen and what kind of a world is it producing? Cris Shore and Susan Wright provide a timely account of the rise of the new industries of accounting, enumeration and ranking from an anthropological perspective, drawing on political economy, ethnographic observation and genealogical excavation. Audit Culture is the first book to systematically document and analyse these phenomena and their implications for democracy. The book explores how audit culture operates across a wide range of fields, including health, higher education, NGOs, finance, the automobile industry and the military. The authors build a powerful critique of contemporary public sector management in an age of neoliberal market-making, privatisation and outsourcing. They conclude by offering a raft of suggested actions to reverse its damaging effects on communities, reclaim professional autonomy, and restore the democratic accountability that audit culture is systematically undermining.

The expansion of audits, indicators and rankings has become a pressing issue for governance and democracy. Cris Shore and Susan Wright build on decades of work to provide a powerful and definitive critical diagnosis of the effects of this audit culture on individuals, public organisations and society. Their book should be essential reading for scholars and policy makers.’ - Michael Power, Professor of Accounting, London School of Economics and Political Science


‘A visionary book. Two anthropologists piece together a global jigsaw: how for 25 years practices of accountability have been transforming almost every aspect of organisational and personal life. A brilliantly lucid, vigorously argued critique, clear-eyed about the structures that undermine us.' - Marilyn Strathern, Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge


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