Many could argue that organized crime takes place in our society because of the circumstances in which our society has chosen to exist. It could have been started because of rules, regulations, and laws that we have placed upon ourselves that not every person agrees with. It could be a problem because several of the people within our society choose to live differently because they feel they can. Whatever the logic behind the choice organized crime does exist in our society and has for quite some time.
Discuss and explain the term social institution, as it applies to organized crime. Organized crime can be seen from a variety of viewpoints, in many cases criminal justice professionals tend to look at crime under one all encompassing umbrella definition of “bad. ” By looking at the various structural similarities to other social institutions one can in fact better interpret the movements and actions regardless of legality of what is committed as a result.
“The legitimate market’s failure to serve sizable consumer populations is responsible for the existence of most vice operations. As a consequence, organized crime capitalizes on market voids and profits from services to these consumers. ” (Lyman, Potter, 2007)In this regards the illegal side of things is actually quite similar to the legal side in that they look for a marketable opportunity and exploit that, due to various moral based laws affecting personal choice there is a marketable base for, prostitution, drugs, and gambling.
The point we can see that within the Organized Crime world the methods of operation are very similar to that of a modern corporate interest or government. What should be noted is that much of organized crime is based solely in areas that are seen as morally inconceivable too a section of society that will than pass morally based laws against “vices” such as drugs, prostitution, and gambling. The support base for these activities and as a result organized crime is than the people who do not necessarily see the moral stigma attached.
In almost all cases of organized crime there must be some form of social control in place as well, i. e. local government, or law enforcement agents. As these activities are not one time operations such as theft or murder they require a certain amount of control within the legitimate government of that area. In many cases the obvious and visible crimes in these areas are the independent street walkers and drug pushers who will gain the attention of the local law enforcement as they are not ingrained into the local community as an organization would be.
There are two widely accepted types of social institutions that characterize organized crime; first there is the patron-client relationship in which the leader of the organized crime family builds reliance on themselves and the family for many aspects of normal life within society. Then there is the bureaucratic model of organized crime, in this model there is a definitive structure and hierarchy which employs people through various means both legally and illegally and as a result spreads the risk to itself out through the organization itself.
Which empirical and speculative theories are most applicable when applied to organized crime and criminal behavior? There are many various theories associated with why organized crime exists some of those will follow. An older theory is the “queer ladder of mobility” which theorized that organized crime was simply a means to and end in that it was the means needed to accumulate wealth and build power.
Another interesting approach is the ethnic succession theory in which every new immigrant population finds social blocks to its desires to achieve the “American Dream” and eventually utilizes a form of organized crime to achieve this dream albeit illegally. Another interesting theory is the Alien Conspiracy theory, “Many authors refer to the members of the Sicilian Mafia who transplanted their criminal culture when they migrated to the United States. Lastly, we look at Social Control Theory, this theory says that community, family, and the bond with society prevents or encourages entry into a life of crime.
It states, “Fear of punishment, shame or embarrassment, and psychological restraints such as conscience (described as the “super ego” by Freudian Theory) are a few reasons why not everyone who has the opportunity will engage in criminal activity. It is this theory that in this author’s opinion is the one most closely associated with organized crime, in many cases true organized crime is based around familial or societal connections and their view of society that surrounds them.