Chapter 21: Globalization and Crime
1 David Nelken Ihr, die ihr euren Wanst und unsre bravheit liebt Das eine wisset ein für allemal. Wie ihr es immer dreht und wie ihr’s immer schiebt Erst kammt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral (Brecht/Weil, The Threepenny Opera, 1928)2 Introduction One of the most striking features of globalization is the way talking about crime helps construct the ‘global village’. Today’s papers in the sleepy (and remarkably crime-free) Italian University town where I teach are full of a potent mixture of crime stories from near and far (but mainly from far). These project a variety of anxieties about security arising from challenges to the social, political and moral order. Everyday stories of burglary and mugging assume a new-found salience when they are associated not with other Italians but attributed rather to so-called ‘extra-community’ immigrants (in practice those who are non-EU and poor). But the main news stories are more impressive. We are told about eight North Africans allegedly linked to Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda terrorist organization who have been arrested in Rome accused of planning to add cyanide to the water system. We are invited to follow the proceedings at the International War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague where former Serbia president Milosevic (who, we learn, enjoys listening to Sinatra’s ‘I did it my way’) is defending himself (rather astutely) against charges of war crimes by arguing that the alleged crimes took place in the course of a civil war. Discussions of the ways we should be...
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