Handbook of Governance and Security
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Handbook of Governance and Security

Edited by James Sperling

The Handbook of Governance and Security examines the conceptual evolution of security governance and the different manifestations of regional security governance. In particular, James Sperling brings together unique contributions from leading scholars to explore the role of institutions that have emerged as critical suppliers of security governance and the ever-widening set of security issues that can be viewed profitably through a governance lens.
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Chapter 23: Transnational criminality

John D. Occhipinti


This chapter examines the governance of cross-border criminal activity, especially international mechanisms for policing transnational crime. ‘Organized crime’, a term that has been used since the late nineteenth century, refers to ‘organized associations of gangsters’. Yet, it was not until the 1970s that international relations scholars directed their attention to ‘transnational’ actors that operated across state boundaries, notably multinational corporations (MNCs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) (Felsen and Kalaitzidis 2005: 3–7). Thus, ‘transnational organized crime’ (TOC) may be defined as organized associations of gangsters that operate across state boundaries. ‘Governance’ can be defined as ‘the continuous political process of setting explicit goals for society and intervening to achieve these goals’ (Jachtenfuchs and Kohler-Koch 2004: 99). This goal setting and intervention can be conducted not just by governments, but by a variety of non-state actors, including, for example, intergovernmental organizations. Governance can be achieved by formal arrangements or organizations, as well as informal institutions, and can be underpinned by shared ideas and norms (Webber et al. 2004: 4–7). Transnational criminality is a security threat that is a social construction and emanates from outside a state’s borders. However, unlike most traditional security challenges, transnational criminality is, in general, not an activity promoted by states themselves against their enemies. In this respect, transnational criminality is akin to terrorism; it often involves illegal activities that entail the use or threat of violence aimed at non-combatants.

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