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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77399 Find in a Library
Title: Individual Choice, Material Culture, and Organized Crime
Journal: Criminology  Volume:19  Issue:1  Dated:(May 1981)  Pages:3-24
Author(s): P A Lupsha
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 22
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper shows that organized crime is rooted in American values and culture, and that its development mirrors the American economic and political institutions.
Abstract: Organized crime refers to those crimes involving ongoing criminal conspiracies over time, which therefore may be considered as organized or syndicated. Popular theories about the roots of organized crime concentrate on such characteristics as organization, hierarchy and structure, and kinship. However, these theories overlook the American roots of organized crime. American culture is based on such values as individualism, property, competitiveness, and freedom of action. These values have been perverted by the organized crime figures as a result of personal choice, not lack of opportunities. The importance of American culture can also be seen in the trend away from a rigid autocratic structure in Italian-American organized crime groups in New York metropolitan area towards 'democratization.' Like American values, organized crime is flexible and practical. It has moved from prostitution to pornography in film and home video cassettes as smoothly as technology and corporations. Like corporate evolution, it has evolved into a diversified multinational conglomerate, franchising criminal markets and firms. Relevant literature and history of organized crime are discussed. Notes and about 20 references are included.
Index Term(s): Cultural influences; Organized crime; Professional criminals; Social organization
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