- The Oxford Handbooks in Criminology and Criminal Justice
- The Oxford Handbook of White-Collar Crime
- Core Themes in the Study of White-Collar Crime
- The Roots and Variant Definitions of the Concept of “White-Collar Crime”
- Theoretical, Empirical, and Policy Implications of Alternative Definitions of “White-Collar Crime”: “Trivializing the Lunatic Crime Rate”
- What Is Known and What Should Be Known About White-Collar Crime Victimization?
- The Costs of White-Collar Crime
- Who Commits White-Collar Crime, and What Do We Know About Them?
- White-Collar Criminals: Ethnographic Portraits of Their Identities and Decision Making
- The Pool of Potential White-Collar Criminals: Whence?
- Middle-Class Crime: Moral Economies Between Crime in the Streets and Crime in the Suites
- Gender Constructions
- Adolescent Precursors of White-Collar Crime
- White-Collar Criminal Participation and the Life Course
- Developmental Perspectives on White-Collar Criminality
- White-Collar Crimes of the Financial Crisis
- Organizational Political Economy and White-Collar Crime
- Economic Fluctuations and Crises
- Cultural Variation
- Criminal Decision Making in Organizational Contexts
- Opportunities for White-Collar Crime
- Employee Theft
- Criminogenic Organizational Properties and Dynamics
- Organizational Self-Restraint
- Oversight and Rule Making as Political Conflict
- Regulation: From Traditional to Cooperative
- Comparing Assumptions Underlying Regulatory Inspection Strategies: Implications for Oversight Policy
- The Credibility of Oversight and Aggregate Rates of White-Collar Crime
- Investigating and Prosecuting White-Collar Criminals
- Sentencing Respectable Offenders
- Effects on White-Collar Defendants of Criminal Justice Attention and Sanctions
- White-Collar Crime and Perceptual Deterrence
- The Practical Challenges of Responding to Corporate Crime
- Public Opinion and Public Policy on White-Collar Crime
Abstract and Keywords
White-collar crime was traditionally a subject that was confined to the shadows. However, the economic meltdown of 2008–2009 focused increasing criminological attention on white-collar crime. This chapter examines historically the social science trajectory of the concept of white-collar crime. The chapter explains the debate regarding definitions that concentrate on the status of offenders versus those that focus on the legal standing of the behavior as the key element of white-collar crime. The early definition of white-collar crime was an offense committed by a person of high position in the course of his or her occupation. The chapter concludes by arguing that this definition has more potential for focusing attention on malevolent behaviors that in contemporary times reflect power that is inequitably distributed and poorly regulated. Because of this inequality, the dishonest in the upper echelons are able to ruthlessly exploit the remainder of the citizenry without facing serious consequences.
Gilbert Geis, PhD, was Professor Emeritus, Department of Criminology, Law and Society University of California, Irvine.
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