- Series Information
- The Oxford Handbook of Organized Crime
- List of Contributors
- Organized Crime: A Contested Concept
- Theoretical Perspectives on Organized Crime
- Searching for Organized Crime in History
- How to Research Organized Crime
- The Italian Mafia
- The Italian-American Mafia
- the Russian Mafia: Rise and Extinction
- Organized Crime in Colombia: The Actors Running the Illegal Drug Industry
- Mexican Drug “Cartels”
- Chinese Organized Crime
- The Japanese Yakuza
- Nigerian Criminal Organizations
- Gangs Another Form of Organized Crime?
- Opportunistic Structures of Organized Crime
- Organizing Crime: The State as Agent
- The Social Embeddedness of Organized Crime
- Protection and Extortion
- Drug Markets and Organized Crime
- Human Smuggling, Human Trafficking, and Exploitation in the Sex Industry
- Illegal Gambling
- Money Laundering
- Arms Trafficking
- Organized Fraud
- The Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources
- Organized Crime Control in the United States of America
- U.S. Organized Crime Control Policies Exported Abroad
- European Union Organized Crime Control Policies
- The Fight Against the Italian Mafia
- Organized Crime Control in Australia and New Zealand
- Organized Crime “Control” in Asia: Experiences from India, China, and the Golden Triangle
- Finance-Oriented Strategies of Organized Crime Control
Abstract and Keywords
This article examines the main shifts in meanings, territorial scope, and scientific and political legitimacy of the concept organized crime. It reconstructs the historical trajectory of the concept, starting in the United States where it was used almost exclusively until the 1970s and then following its rapid spread in Europe since the late 1980s. One of the main arguments of the essay is that the understanding of organized crime has shifted back and forth between two rival notions: (1) a set of stable organizations illegal per se or whose members systematically engage in crime, and (2) a set of serious criminal activities mostly carried out for monetary gain. The article also considers the growing emphasis placed on the transnational nature of organized crime from the early 1990s onwards and finally discusses the future of the concept of organized crime, drawing from its incipient decline in Europe and the recent interest in the topic in Asia and Oceania.
Letizia Paoli is Professor of Criminology at the University of Leuven Faculty of Law. Her research interests are primarily in organized crime, drugs, doping and related control policies as well as the assessment of the harms of crime.
Tom Vander Beken is Professor of law and criminology at Ghent University (Belgium). His research interests are in organised crime, criminal policy and criminal justice related issues.
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