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Criminal Organizing: Studies in the sociology of organized crime
Stockholms universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Sociologiska institutionen.ORCID-id: 0000-0003-0973-3481
2016 (Engelska)Doktorsavhandling, sammanläggning (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
Abstract [en]

What organized crime is and how it can be prevented are two of the key questions in both organized crime research and criminal policy. However, despite many attempts, organized crime research, the criminal justice system and criminal policy have failed to provide a shared and recognized conceptual definition of organized crime, which has opened the door to political interpretations. Organized crime is presented as an objective reality—mostly based on anecdotal empirical evidence and generic descriptions—and has been understood, as being intrinsically different from social organization, and this has been a justification for treating organized crime conceptually separately.

In this dissertation, the concept of organized crime is deconstructed and analyzed. Based on five studies and an introductory chapter, I argue that organized crime is an overarching concept based on an abstraction of different underlying concepts, such as gang, mafia, and network, which are in turn semi-overarching and overlapping abstractions of different crime phenomena, such as syndicates, street-gangs, and drug networks. This combination of a generic concept based on underlying concepts, which are themselves subject to similar conceptual difficulties, has given rise to a conceptual confusion surrounding the term and the concept of organized crime. The consequences of this conceptual confusion are not only an issue of semantics, but have implications for our understanding of the nature of criminal collaboration as well as both legal and policy consequences. By combining different observers, methods and empirical materials relating to dimensions of criminal collaboration, I illustrate the strong analogies that exist between forms of criminal collaboration and the theory of social organization.

I argue in this dissertation that criminal organizing is not intrinsically different from social organizing. In fact, the dissertation illustrates the existence of strong analogies between patterns of criminal organizing and the elements of social organizations. But depending on time and context, some actions and forms of organizing are defined as criminal, and are then, intentionally or unintentionally, presumed to be intrinsically different from social organizing. Since the basis of my argument is that criminal organizing is not intrinsically different from social organizing, I advocate that the study of organized crime needs to return to the basic principles of social organization in order to understand the emergence of, and the underlying mechanism that gives rise to, the forms of criminal collaboration that we seek to explain. To this end, a new general analytical framework, “criminal organizing”, that brings the different forms of criminal organizations and their dimensions together under a single analytical tool, is proposed as an example of how organizational sociology can advance organized crime research and clarify the chaotic concept of organized crime. 

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Stockholm: Department of Sociology, Stockholm University , 2016. , 103 s.
Serie
Stockholm studies in sociology, ISSN 0491-0885 ; 62
Nyckelord [en]
Organized crime, Criminal organizing, Social order, Mafia, Gang, Network
Nationell ämneskategori
Sociologi
Forskningsämne
sociologi
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-128362ISBN: 978-91-7649-364-9 (tryckt)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-128362DiVA: diva2:921818
Disputation
2016-06-03, Hörsal 4, Hus B, Universitetsvägen 10 B, Stockholm, 10:00 (Svenska)
Opponent
Handledare
Anmärkning

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 5: Manuscript.

 

Tillgänglig från: 2016-05-11 Skapad: 2016-03-24 Senast uppdaterad: 2017-02-24Bibliografiskt granskad
Delarbeten
1. The Complexity of Crime Network Data: a Case Study of Its Consequences for Crime Control and the Study of Networks
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>The Complexity of Crime Network Data: a Case Study of Its Consequences for Crime Control and the Study of Networks
2015 (Engelska)Ingår i: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 10, nr 3, e0119309Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

The field of social network analysis has received increasing attention during the past decades and has been used to tackle a variety of research questions, from prevention of sexually transmitted diseases to humanitarian relief operations. In particular, social network analyses are becoming an important component in studies of criminal networks and in criminal intelligence analysis. At the same time, intelligence analyses and assessments have become a vital component of modern approaches in policing, with policy implications for crime prevention, especially in the fight against organized crime. In this study, we have a unique opportunity to examine one specific Swedish street gang with three different datasets. These datasets are the most common information sources in studies of criminal networks: intelligence, surveillance and co-offending data. We use the data sources to build networks, and compare them by computing distance, centrality, and clustering measures. This study shows the complexity factor by which different data sources about the same object of study have a fundamental impact on the results. The same individuals have different importance ranking depending on the dataset and measure. Consequently, the data source plays a vital role in grasping the complexity of the phenomenon under study. Researchers, policy makers, and practitioners should therefore pay greater attention to the biases affecting the sources of the analysis, and be cautious when drawing conclusions based on intelligence assessments and limited network data. This study contributes to strengthening social network analysis as a reliable tool for understanding and analyzing criminality and criminal networks.

Nyckelord
Crime networks, social network analysis, gangs, data complexity
Nationell ämneskategori
Sociologi
Forskningsämne
sociologi
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-115366 (URN)10.1371/journal.pone.0119309 (DOI)000351183500080 ()
Forskningsfinansiär
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P11-0866:1
Tillgänglig från: 2015-03-20 Skapad: 2015-03-20 Senast uppdaterad: 2017-12-04Bibliografiskt granskad
2. The myth of success: the emergence and maintenance of a specialized gang unit in Stockholm, Sweden
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>The myth of success: the emergence and maintenance of a specialized gang unit in Stockholm, Sweden
2015 (Engelska)Ingår i: International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, ISSN 0192-4036, E-ISSN 2157-6475, Vol. 39, nr 3, 199-217 s.Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

Street gangs and organized crime groups pose a unique challenge to police departments across the globe. Given their penchant for public displays of affiliation through well-recognized signs and symbols, their presence is often associated with media attention and public scrutiny, which threatens the legitimacy of the police and creates added pressure to generate a specific and public response to the threat these groups pose. The current study documents how the Stockholm County, Sweden, police developed and maintained an anti-gang operation in response to an emerging gang problem. While police officials labeled the anti-gang initiative a success in the news media, analyses of prosecution statistics and internal police documents demonstrate a less than ideal effect of this operation. Potential reasons for the discrepancy in public pronouncements of programmatic success relative to evaluation of official data are discussed.

Nyckelord
gangs, policing, evaluation, media, police legitimacy, police cynicism
Nationell ämneskategori
Sociologi
Forskningsämne
sociologi
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-113768 (URN)10.1080/01924036.2014.973054 (DOI)
Tillgänglig från: 2015-02-11 Skapad: 2015-02-11 Senast uppdaterad: 2017-12-04Bibliografiskt granskad
3. An Exploratory Analysis of Swedish Street Gangs: Applying the Maxson and Klein Typology to a Swedish Gang Dataset
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>An Exploratory Analysis of Swedish Street Gangs: Applying the Maxson and Klein Typology to a Swedish Gang Dataset
2012 (Engelska)Ingår i: Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, ISSN 1043-9862, E-ISSN 1552-5406, Vol. 28, nr 4, 426-445 s.Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

In this study we investigate the application of the Maxson and Klein gang typology on a dataset of seven Swedish street gangs. Individual-level data on 239 gang members were analyzed. While some Swedish criminologists maintain that no street gangs exist in Sweden, this research project provides evidence to the contrary. Findings support the utility of the Maxson and Klein typology. Results show that the “compressed gang” was the most common type of street gang in the dataset. This finding is also in concert with other European gang studies, adding further evidence for the applicability of the gang typology. Findings also suggest a similar pattern of gang development and structure to that of American and European street gangs.

Nyckelord
Swedish street gangs, street gangs, street gang typology, Eurogang
Nationell ämneskategori
Sociologi
Forskningsämne
sociologi
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-128360 (URN)10.1177/1043986212458195 (DOI)
Tillgänglig från: 2016-03-24 Skapad: 2016-03-24 Senast uppdaterad: 2017-11-30Bibliografiskt granskad
4. UNDERSTANDING GANG LEADERS: CHARACTERISTICS AND DRIVING FORCES OF STREET GANG LEADERS IN SWEDEN
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>UNDERSTANDING GANG LEADERS: CHARACTERISTICS AND DRIVING FORCES OF STREET GANG LEADERS IN SWEDEN
2012 (Engelska)Ingår i: Free inquiry in creative sociology, ISSN 0736-9182, Vol. 40, nr 2, 1-19 s.Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

In this criminological study we have combined ethnographic fieldwork observations with twelve in-depth interviews with Swedish street gang leaders and twelve associate gang members to understand the driving forces behind street gang leadership and gang membership by delineating the multiple themes of the subjects’ narratives. A descriptive and interpretive analysis of the data suggested four ideal-types, each with specific goals, aspirations, and motives. These were in accord with a limited, though diverse literature on gang leadership that has primarily emerged in the United States. The analysis, however, does not necessarily support the claim that U.S.-style intergenerational, institutionalized gangs exist in Sweden; simply that there are similar gang leadership styles and motivations in these different contexts. In terms of policy, the analysis contains important lessons for agencies involved in social control efforts against street gangs and similar subcultures by focusing on the heterogeneous roles and influences of gang hierarchies. Further, the analysis reiterates the need for a more nuanced understanding of street gangs and the structured agency of members within their own narrative accounts. In terms of research, these findings suggest a need for further in-depth, holistic studies to create a more empirically grounded gang leader typology.

Nyckelord
Gangs, Street Gangs, Police, Policing
Nationell ämneskategori
Sociologi
Forskningsämne
sociologi
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-101989 (URN)
Tillgänglig från: 2014-03-19 Skapad: 2014-03-19 Senast uppdaterad: 2016-04-25Bibliografiskt granskad
5. Criminal organizing: Applying the theory of partial organisation to four cases of criminal collaboration
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Criminal organizing: Applying the theory of partial organisation to four cases of criminal collaboration
(Engelska)Manuskript (preprint) (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
Nyckelord
Social organisations, organizing, criminal organizing, organized crime, mafia, gangs
Nationell ämneskategori
Sociologi
Forskningsämne
sociologi
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-128361 (URN)
Tillgänglig från: 2016-03-24 Skapad: 2016-03-24 Senast uppdaterad: 2017-02-20Bibliografiskt granskad

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