Deconstructing Organized Crime

An Historical and Theoretical Study


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About the Book

What is organized crime? There have been many answers over the decades from scholars, governments, the media, pop culture and criminals themselves. These answers cumulatively created a “Mafia Mystique” that dominated discourse until after the Cold War, when transnational organized crime emerged as a pronounced, if nebulous, threat to global security and stability.
The authors focus both on the American experience that dominated organized crime scholarship in the second half of the 20th century and on the more recent global scene. Case studies show that organized crime is best understood not as a series of famous gangsters and events but as a structure of everyday life formed by numerous political, social, economic and anthropological variables. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

The late Joseph L. Albini was a professor emeritus in the department of sociology at Wayne State University. He lived in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Jeffrey Scott McIllwain is an associate professor in the Criminal Justice and Criminology Program and co-director of the Graduate Program in Homeland Security at San Diego State University. He lives in La Mesa, California.

Bibliographic Details

Joseph L. Albini and Jeffrey Scott McIllwain

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 217
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6580-4
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9299-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1
Introduction      4

1. The Mystique of the Mafia      7
2. The Mafia Belongs to Sicily      23
3. Searching for “Our Thing”      47
4. Revision      67
5. Organizing Crime      83
6. Survival of the Fittest: From Russia to the Original Sin City      120
7. Globalization and Organized Criminals      148
8. The Organized Crime Matrix: A Transnational System of Social Networks of Organized Criminal Activity      179

Works Cited      191
Index      201

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “an informative overview of organized crime…a detailed historical examination of the origins…rigorous and highly readable, this is an important contribution to the field of criminology. Highly recommended. All levels and libraries”—Choice
  • “A fascinating historical look at the mythology and reality of organized crime past and present. A scholarly inquiry into the ways public perception influences crime policy and law enforcement.”—Jay S. Albanese, Virginia Commonwealth University and former Chief of the International Center, National Institute of Justice
  • “A criminological tour-de-force by two dedicated and respected scholars that bridges the late 20th century with the 21st century in describing the intellectual effort to explain the changing nature of organized crime.”—Frank Hagan, Mercyhurst College