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NCJ Number: 140369 Find in a Library
Title: White-Collar Crime: What Is It? (From White-Collar Crime Reconsidered, P 31-52, 1992, Kip Schlegel and David Weisburd, eds - See NCJ-140367)
Author(s): G Geis
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 22
Sponsoring Agency: Northeastern University Press
Boston, MA 02115
Sale Source: Northeastern University Press
Managing Manager
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States of America
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This discussion of the definition of white-collar crime describes Edwin H. Sutherland's introduction of the term in 1939 and the subsequent and continuing debates over its meaning.
Abstract: Sutherland introduced the term during his presidential address to the American Sociological Society in Philadelphia. Both then and in subsequent papers, he did not define the term precisely, although he referred to perpetrators of white-collar crime as being individuals in high places who act on their opportunities to abuse power. Subsequent scholars appeared to agree that the main criterion for a white-collar crime was that it occur as part of or as a deviation from the perpetrator's occupational role. Scholars virtually abandoned the subject in the United States during the 1960's. Subsequent scholars have generally defined these crimes as ones carried out for personal or organizational gain, somehow involving the perpetrator's occupational position, and involving the use or misuse of legitimate business techniques. Current controversies over the definition have focused on possible sentencing disparities, offenses by organizations, whether white-collar crime can be viewed simply as another form of lawbreaking, and whether the term should refer only to the violation of trust by individuals who use their roles for personal gain. Rather than adopt a narrow definition, taking the broad approach suggested by Sutherland and conducting a variety of types of research appears to be the most useful way to study issues related to white-collar crime. Notes and 57 references
Main Term(s): White collar crime; White collar offenders
Index Term(s): Definitions; White collar crime causes
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