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Criminal organizing applying the theory of partial organization to four cases of organized crime
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Institute for Futures Studies, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0973-3481
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Institute for Futures Studies, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2685-9238
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2018 (English)In: Trends in Organized Crime, ISSN 1084-4791, E-ISSN 1936-4830, Vol. 21, no 4, p. 315-342Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We explore how the idea of partial organization can provide insights in the study of organized crime. Studying criminal organizing with a theoretical framework used for other social organizing phenomena can help us see the interplay between different forms of criminal collaboration under a single analytical lens, and start a discussion on whether criminal organizing is intrinsically different from other types of social organizing. We analyze four cases of criminal collaboration in Sweden between 1990 and 2015: the Syriac mafia, the Hells Angels Mc Sweden, the street gang Werewolf Legion, and the Hallunda robbery. While the outlaw motorcycle gang, and to a certain extent the street gang, are complete organizations, the mafia is based around and heavily parasitic on other institutions. We have also shown that time-bounded projects are found in the criminal context, with these emerging from strong network relations. Our results show that most of the elements of criminal organizing are not formalized and that partial organization is at least as important and powerful as complete organization.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 21, no 4, p. 315-342
Keywords [en]
Organizing, Partial organization, Organized crime, Mafia, Street gangs, Outlaw motorcycle gangs, Criminal project
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-155671DOI: 10.1007/s12117-017-9315-6ISI: 000451652700001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-155671DiVA, id: diva2:1201484
Funder
Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, MSB 2016-486 & 2016-7045Available from: 2018-04-25 Created: 2018-04-25 Last updated: 2019-01-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Criminal Organizing: Studies in the sociology of organized crime
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Criminal Organizing: Studies in the sociology of organized crime
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
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. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, 2016. p. 103
Series
Stockholm studies in sociology, ISSN 0491-0885 ; 62
Keywords
Organized crime, Criminal organizing, Social order, Mafia, Gang, Network
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-128362 (URN)978-91-7649-364-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-06-03, Hörsal 4, Hus B, Universitetsvägen 10 B, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

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

 

Available from: 2016-05-11 Created: 2016-03-24 Last updated: 2018-06-24Bibliographically approved

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