skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 210374 Find in a Library
Title: World of Organized Crime
Journal: Global Crime  Volume:6  Issue:2  Dated:May 2004  Pages:230-240
Author(s): Michael Woodiwiss
Date Published: May 2004
Page Count: 11
Type: Literature Review
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This article reviews books on organized crime in America that contradict the popular view espoused in Adler et al.'s "Criminology" textbook on the history of organized crime in America, in which organized crime is portrayed as the importation and evolution of Sicilian-based criminal groups whose members immigrated to America between 1875 and 1920.
Abstract: Contradicting this view are many historians and criminologists, beginning with Joseph Albini in "The American Mafia: Genesis of a Legend" (1971), who have found little evidence of the truth of commonly accepted versions of organized crime's history in America. Albini found no evidence of a national cartel of crime, and he concluded that the structures of criminal syndicates in the United States were not characterized by a consistent bureaucratic hierarchy composed of specific ranks. Albini's research pointed to criminal syndicates as systems of patron-client relationships that varied from syndicate to syndicate, and each syndicate could be understood only within the context of its own development; however, the wealth of quality research that has confirmed and expanded upon Albini's findings has been overwhelmed by the embedded cultural myth of the Italian Mafia as the dominating, hierarchical manifestation of organized crime in America. In reviewing some of the books that challenge this view, this article documents the presence of criminal syndicates in America before the wave of Italian immigrants and discusses the various types of organized criminal groups that have had significant criminal operations in the country. These include Chinese-American gangs, African-American organized crime groups, Colombian-based drug cartels operating in America, and organized facets of corporate and state corruption. Finland is cited as an example of a government that has made a concerted effort to research organized crime and develop policies that reflect that research. The author does not see this happening in America. 36 notes
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Organization studies; Organized crime; United States of America
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.