Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2015. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 29 March 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the evolution of concepts and definitions relating to criminal organization since 1750. Terms such as the “underworld,” “organized crime,” and “professional crime” have increasingly become part of the criminal justice lexicon in the modern period. However, while there has been a strong tradition of criminological and sociological investigation into the structures and hierarchies of syndicated crime and street gangs in the first half of the twentieth century, much of this work has been dominated and implicitly shaped by North American contexts. The hidden nature of such criminal activity means that most attention has been paid to those offenders whose recidivism and notoriety brought them into public disrepute. Thus, historians’ investigations into organized crime have been characteristically limited. This chapter provides a broader overview of the historical chronologies and geographies of the “underworld” and explores the key historical studies into the organization of crime in the modern period.

Keywords: organized crime, gangster, Mafia, criminal networks, underworld, bandits, gangs

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.