Handbook of Political Anthropology
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Handbook of Political Anthropology

Edited by Harald Wydra and Bjørn Thomassen

This Handbook engages the reader in the major debates, approaches, methodologies, and explanatory frames within political anthropology. Examining the shifting borders of a moving field of enquiry, it illustrates disciplinary paradigm shifts, the role of humans in political structures, ethnographies of the political, and global processes. Reflecting the variety of directions that surround political anthropology today, this volume will be essential reading to understanding the interactions of humans within political frames in a globalising world.
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Chapter 26: The anthropology of crime

Henrik Vigh and David Sausdal


This chapter tackles the contemporary potential of the anthropology of crime by tracing the origin of the discipline back to ‘criminal genetics’ and the study of innate dispositions before engaging with the collective social conditions and logics that are the pillars of criminal formations, flows, and networks. It claims that political anthropology is needed to study more carefully the frames within which crime develops, is executed, and also is identified as being deviant. Beyond earlier evolutionistic, racialised, and functionalist approaches to crime, this chapter provides an investigation of criminal structures and groups as sub-societal or sub-cultural entities leading us, in conclusion, to an examination of movements and assemblages along networks and trajectories that move across strata and space. In essence, anthropological knowledge is accumulative rather than linear as many of the insights gained and the knowledge learnt are complementary rather than contradictory.

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