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Researching the organization of serious crimes

Edwards, Adam Michael ORCID: and Levi, Michael ORCID: 2008. Researching the organization of serious crimes. Criminology and Criminal Justice 8 (4) , pp. 363-388. 10.1177/1748895808097403

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In a sense, the problem of organized crime is the concept of `organized crime' itself. The implications of shifting the analytical focus from explanations of `it' toward building theories of the organization of serious crimes are considered in relation to three ways of framing research: organized crime as an external threat; the organization of serious crimes through routine activities; and their organization through social relations. Beyond taxonomic assessments of various threats, organized crime groups, their regional theatres of operation and involvement in illicit markets, a major fault-line exists within social scientific studies of the organization of serious crimes over the appropriate scope of inquiry. Specifically, whether this should be limited to the particular settings in which discrete serious crime events occur and/or broadened to encompass the social structural antecedents of these events. This boils down to an argument over what constitutes the necessary relations for the commission of serious crimes for economic gain, and how their contingent concentration in certain places and moments amongst particular populations can be adequately explained. This also suggests that the interplay between more remote `distal' causes, situational opportunities presented by public and private sector controls, and pre-existing networks of relationships have to be understood in combination for an adequate explanatory account of the organization of crimes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Uncontrolled Keywords: Crime networks and opportunities; criminal organisation; drug trafficking; Europol; illicit Markets; necessary and contingent relations for crime; organized crime; Serious Organised Crime Agency; threat assessment
Publisher: SAGE
ISSN: 1748-8958
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 08:49

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