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Autumn Term 2015

15 October Professor Vincenzo Ruggiero (Department of Criminology and Sociology, School of Law, Middlesex University, London, UK) Financial Crime and Early Criminology: The ambiguity of a concept forged in the eighteenth century

Abstract: Early (or classical) criminology is mainly associated with two eighteenth-century authors: Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham. Both have been studied thoroughly as progenitors of enlightened strategies for the treatment of offenders, advocates of humane forms of statehood and campaigners against institutional cruelty. It could be argued that both Beccaria and Bentham, while invoking reform of the criminal justice system, address the excesses of state action and the dominant social groups. In this sense, they can be deemed founders of what is known as the study of the crimes of the powerful. However, commonly referred to conventional forms of delinquency, their arguments are mainly appropriated by penal reformers inspired by consequentialist sensibilities, namely those who are inclined to criticize retribution and support rehabilitation. This paper leaves conventional crime aside, focusing instead on the contribution of early criminology to the analysis of the particular forms of crime of the powerful occurring in the financial arena.

After a brief review of the contemporary criminological literature on financial crime, this paper provides, first, an account of some financial crises that occurred during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Second, it searches within the writings of classical criminologists for definitions and clarifications as to what was regarded at the time as financial delinquency. Finally, it highlights differences and similarities between past and current interpretations, all to a degree reflecting the ambiguous nature of this type of delinquency.

 

29 October Dr. Kate Meagher (Associate Professor, Development Studies, London School of Economics, UK) Entrepreneurship, Criminality and Tipping Points:  Clandestine Trade in East and West Africa

Abstract: This seminar explores shifting practices in African clandestine economies, with a particular focus on shifts of informal business activities into or out of criminality.  Previously condemned as products of clientism and corruption, African clandestine economies are attracting renewed interest for their developmental potential in weak state contexts.  Focusing on examples of clandestine cross-border trade in East and West Africa, this seminar examines the factors that shape the character of clandestine trading activities, and may trigger their tipping the economy into or out of criminality.  We will also examine the ways in which ideological perspectives tend to gloss over the actual processes at play, representing dynamic and peaceful clandestine economies in much of West Africa as criminal, while celebrating as developmental more violent and socially disruptive Eastern African clandestine trading complexes centred on the Great Lakes Region.

 

12 November Professor Ben Bowling (Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London, UK) Theorising Crimmigration Control

Abstract: This paper posits that a ‘crimmigration control system’ is emerging in parallel to the much more intensively studied criminal justice system. The system is authorised and shaped by ‘crimmigration law’ merging criminal and immigration laws. It includes physical defences; mechanisms for intelligence gathering and surveillance; policing and law enforcement; a specialized legal process, courts, and tribunals; systems to deny crimmigrants access to goods and services; a removals process and a ‘secure estate’ of detention centres. Crimmigration is separate from the domestic criminal justice system but runs parallel to it, connects at important nodal points, and extends transnationally to link with other control systems in other countries. The paper theorises that crimmigration control is becoming an integral element of the emerging system of transnational law enforcement and global policing and that criminology will be incomplete if these novel forms of discipline and punishment are ignored. The paper argues that the rich theoretical and methodological traditions established within criminology have much to offer a new generation of scholars and activists attempting to make sense out of these new developments.

 

26 November Professor Leila Simona Talani (Jean Monnet Chair in European Political Economy, Department of European & International Studies, King’s College London) Money Laundering in the City of London: London as a laundry of choice

Abstract: The origins of the term “money laundering” can be traced back to the 1920s in United States, when criminals used the laundering busi- ness to recycle the proceeds of their activities into the legal economy (Lilley 2000: 5). But things have changed substantially since then; there are now a multiplicity of actors and even more techniques available to successful money launderers.

It is almost a truism to say that globalization (or better, the techno- logical developments associated with it) simplified things substantially to the extent that some authors provocatively provide “beginners” guides to money laundering on the Internet (Lilley 2000; Nordstrom 2007: 167). In the lecture we see how this happens. However, as Lilley states “by its very nature, the whole point of a successful laun- dering operation is to convert dirty funds in one part of the world into clean money in a respected and respectable financial center” (Lilley 200: 17).

The City of London is certainly one of the most respectable and, above all, respected, financial services centers in the world; and it is also one of the main final “depots” of washed money. In a way, the City of London (or another established financial center such as New York or Tokyo) is by definition the final stop of illicit money if the money laundering process is successful.

The lecture will elaborate on the role played by the City of London in money laundering as well as the role played by money laundering in the British economy within the context of Globalization.

 

10 December Professor Mike Hough (Associate Director, Institute for Criminal Policy Research, Birkbeck) Why does punitivity vary across country? Penal practice and public attitudes to punishment in comparative perspective

Abstract: Mike Hough will present findings from the Fifth European Social Survey on patterns of public attitudes to punishment across the 28 countries participating in the country. He will discuss the relative predictive power of factors such as levels of public trust in justice, levels of attachment to right-wing authoritarian(RWA) views and country-level factors such as income inequality and political structure. Surprisingly, it turns out that country-level factors have only limited predictive power, whilst trust in justice and RWA views are powerful predictors.

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