CRIMGOV is designed to introduce and validate a new framework for the study of organised crime (OC), based on three different types of activities undertaken by OC groups: production, trade and governance.
Individuals undertaking very different activities—ranging from peasants farming land in Colombia to local gangs in London, to mafia in Italy to transnational corporate actors and even London-based estate agents—are routinely lumped together under the conceptual label of OC. The new concepts, theories and data we urgently need can be produced by focusing on three aspects of the activities undertaken by OC groups: production, trade, and governance.
Production refers to individuals and firms engaged in producing illegal goods and services, such as peasants working in coca fields in Colombia, immigrants employed in cannabis farms in Europe, and cybercriminals who devise frauds on the internet. Production interacts with context-dependent factors, such as law enforcement and criminal governance.
Trade refers to OC groups that specialise in moving illegal goods from one place to another, buying and selling merchandise. For instance, drugs trafficking, and human smuggling are forms of trade. Failure of deals is a feature of such businesses, and it is important to understand how cooperation is achieved and under which conditions illegal entrepreneurs fail to reach an agreement or defect on deals.
Governance of territory, markets, and communities is a key activity that links diverse actors such as gangs, cartels, mafias, insurgencies, paramilitaries, and terrorists. However poorly or well-articulated their political ambitions are, ultimately these organisations challenge at least some aspects of state power, hence they have a political dimension.
Breaking traditional disciplinary boundaries between the social sciences, CRIMGOV aims at overturning long-held conceptual approaches, producing substantial new findings and new data, and speaking to scholars in different disciplines.