Barksby, Kelly (2013) Constructing criminals: the creation of identity within criminal mafias. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Constructing criminals: the creation of identity within criminal mafias

This thesis seeks to demonstrate that there has been a change in the social and cultural aspects of established organised criminal sub-cultures by observing the changes that have taken place in how identity is constructed. The literature is comparatively lacking in emphasis when compared to information about specific criminal activities and the threat of the organisations. This study finds that the social and cultural dimensions of established organised criminal sub-cultures can be equally important and indicative of changes in those organisations.

This thesis analyses the change in how established organised criminal sub-cultures, or mafias, have perceived and used identity over the last twenty years and asks whether this can be indicative of a change in the social and cultural model of these organisations. The study is comparative and will focus on how identity in four distinct mafias from across the world - the Russian mafiya, Sicilian mafia, the Japanese yakuza and the Chinese triads - is constructed and how this has changed. The Russian mafiya was the first of the established organised criminal sub-cultures to demonstrate this change whereby identity was used in a different way from its criminal underworld roots. The study also analyses the literature available from gang studies to ask whether the recognised focus upon identity can be interpreted with reference to the established organised criminal sub-cultures.

This thesis considers that a criminal identity is constructed through a variety of customs and behaviours including mythology and legend, language and oral traditions and the visual image that a group portrays. A contextual approach is proposed, whereby organisations create and negotiate criminal identities at different scales, by which a street level identity might be more distinctive.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: This electronic version of the thesis has been edited solely to ensure compliance with copyright legislation and excluded material is referenced in the text. The full, final, examined and awarded version of the thesis is available for consultation in hard copy via the University Library.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare > HV1 Criminology
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2017 11:03
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 11:12

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