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Howard Abadinsky. ORGANIZED. CRIME. Eighth Edition. CHAPTER. ONE. The DEFINITION and STRUCTURE of ORGANIZED CRIME. DEFINING ORGANIZED CRIME There is no widely accepted definition. Some suggest entrepreneurial conception that avoids ethnic overtones of the term “organized crime.”

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Howard Abadinsky

ORGANIZED

CRIME

Eighth Edition

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CHAPTER

ONE

The DEFINITION and STRUCTURE of ORGANIZED CRIME

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DEFINING ORGANIZED CRIME

There is no widely accepted definition.

Some suggest entrepreneurial conception

that avoids ethnic overtones of the term

“organized crime.”

Others cite a semanticsproblem: most

definitions call a specific behavior or act

OC; the generic meaning usually refers

to a group of people or an entity.

attributes indicative of oc
ATTRIBUTES INDICATIVE of OC
  • Lack of political goals.
  • Hierarchical structure.
  • Limited or exclusive membership.
  • Constitution as a unique subculture.
  • Self-perpetuation.
  • Willingness to use illegal violence and bribery.
  • Demonstrated specialization/division of labor.
  • Monopolism.
  • Governance by explicit rules and regulations.
terrorism and oc
TERRORISM and OC
  • They are differentiated by means and ends.
    • Terrorists use their funds to further political

ends, overthrow governments, and impose

their worldview.

    • OC seeks to form a parallel government that

coexists with the legitimate government.

  • Criminal and terrorist motivations may overlap.
the structure of oc
THE STRUCTURE of OC
  • Two contrasting organizational models:
    • The bureaucratic/corporate model.
    • The patrimonial/patron-client network.
  • A bureaucracy is the mode of organization
  • that is essential for efficiently carrying out
  • large-scale tasks.
the attributes of bureaucracies
THE ATTRIBUTES of BUREAUCRACIES
  • Bureaucracies:
    • are complicated hierarchies;
    • employ an extensive division of labor;
    • assign positions on the basis of skill;
    • are guided by extensive rules and regulations;
    • communicate from top to bottom, usually in

written form.

patrimonial patron client networks
PATRIMONIAL/PATRON-CLIENT NETWORKS
  • Fear of compromised communications makes
  • the bureaucratic model impractical for OC.
  • As a result:
    • Face-to-faceinteractions/transactions are typical.
    • Span of control is limited.
    • Control is problematic.
    • Geographic expansion leads to feudalism.
    • Decentralized control is advantageous for both

business and security reasons.

    • Patrimonial/patron-client networks characterize

most American Mafia groups.

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An unbalanced social exchange relationship is

a patron-client relationship.

Patrons provide economic aid and protection,

act as power brokers.

Clients repay with esteem and loyalty.

Independent criminals in patron’s territory are

referred to as “outlaws.”

Patrons will not help if outlaws are arrested;

will quash outlaws who conflict with patron’s

own criminal activities; and may force outlaws

to share their illegal profits (pay tribute) to receive “protection.”

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Outlaws pay financial tribute to patrons to

demonstrate rispetto (respect).

Respect is important element of OC subculture.

Non-OC affiliated criminals render respect to

secure vital information and assistance and

ensure their operations are not jeopardized by

other criminals.

A patron’s blessing on an outlaw’s activities

shields those activities from interference—and

provides a steady, and highly lucrative, income

flow to the patron’s coffers.

the american mafia family network is a natural system that includes
The American Mafia Family network is a ‘natural system’ that includes:
  • the boss (paterfamilias) who is thepatron;
  • an underboss (sottocapo);
  • a counselor/advisor (consigliere);
  • captains (capiregime) who are clients of the
  • boss and patrons to their own underlings;
  • members or soldiers (soldati) who are
  • clients of the captains; and
  • other non-OC affiliated clients of the boss.
members of natural systems
Members of natural systems:
  • are not necessarily guided by organizational goals;
  • share a common interest in the survival of the system;
  • engage in collective activities informally structured to

secure system survival.

  • As a natural system, organized crime is fundamentally a collection of social groups attempting to adapt to and survive in a dangerous environment.
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Mafia Family members, or “made guys,” are essentially franchisees.

As independent entrepreneurs, members:

a. share their criminal profits with the

captain/patron;

b. are protected by the Family from

other criminals; and

c. have unlimited access to the Family’s

network.