Although we build on and want to contribute to de Graaf et al.’s theorizing project, we want to stress that by turning to theory, we do not just mean turning to established theoretical approaches and incorporating these into the study of corruption, seemingly as fetishes or ‘full bodies’ (Badiou, 2009). In the end, that is where de Graaf et al. end up; they turn to rather well-established theoretical frameworks for studying corruption, such as Weber, structural-functionalist perspectives, and institutional economics. In addition to the use of established theory, this special issue calls for the application of novel theories to understand corruption. Thus, the contributions in our special issue are linked to the ideas of de Graaf et al., but are attempting to elaborate further and to engage creatively with the prospect of turning towards new pathways in the maze of theorizing.