CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tusikov on Models of Organized Crime

Natasha Tusikov (Australian National University) has posted The Godfather is Dead: A Hybrid Model of Organized Crime (APREHENDIENDO AL DELINCUENTE: CRIMEN Y MEDIOS EN AMÉRICA DEL NORTE, p. 143 Graciela Martinez-Zalace, Susana Vargas Cervantes, and Will Straw, eds., Media at McGill, 2010) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

A decades-long debate has raged globally among academics about how to define and classify organized crime, its activities, members, and organizing structures. This debate has inspired such interest because organized crime is an intangible concept with a wide range of activities and criminal capabilities, a diversity of participants, and different kinds of organizing structures. Law enforcement, however, has been largely absent from this discussion and is generally reluctant to participate in the construction of conceptual frameworks intended to strengthen our understanding of organized crime. Twenty two years ago, Grant Wardlaw (1989: 10) noted that conceptual frameworks are rudimentary in organized crime research. While our critical understanding of organized crime has evolved significantly, limited progress has been made in the development of formal models of organized crime and Wardlaw’s observation remains sadly current.

This article seeks to contribute to the literature of conceptual models of organized crime through a critique of past theories and the introduction of a hybrid model. The first part critiques the pluralist-ethnic and bureaucratic-hierarchical models that have traditionally shaped law enforcement’s conception of organized crime. The second part outlines the network, market, and enterprise models and then offers a new hybrid conceptual model. It then explores how this hybrid model can form a theoretical framework for a risk assessment methodology on organized crime.

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