Transnational crime refers to crime that takes place across national borders. An article in the journal International Political Sociology shows that the significance of transnational crime is poorly understood but has had profound consequences for the ordering of the world system.
James Sheptycki, Professor of Criminology at York University explores the interdisciplinary study of the global system by using the perspectives of critical criminology. Crime definition and control have been central aspects of governance since the early modern period and this is no less true now that governance has become transnational or global.
The article suggests that the contemporary global system is ripe with existential anxieties that are symptoms of momentous historical change and argues that, for good or bad, crime definition and control have become crucial to the transnational condition.
The fears suggested by the term transnational crime have been used to justify increasing policing powers. This increase in global policing power is detrimental to efforts to democratize the world system.
“Critical insight is crucial if we are to break out of the current cycle of fear and insecurity which means seeing through the fog of globalization crisis talk,” Sheptycki notes. “Theories from criminology are a useful addition to international political sociology and there seems little doubt that such insights will be called upon again and again as crime and insecurity are repeatedly muscled onto the agenda of global governance.”
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