ISCI is a cross-disciplinary research centre working to further our understanding of state crime: organisational deviance violating human rights

'State-Corporate Crime and Major Financial Institutions: Interrogating an Absence'


Issue 3, Volume 2 (pp.146-162)

David O. Friedrichs and Dawn L. Rothe

DOI: 10.13169/statecrime.3.2.0146


The concept of state-corporate crime has been invoked and applied quite widely for more than 20 years now. We acknowledge the value of this concept but here address some of its conceptual limitations, especially in relation to crimes of large-scale investment and commercial banks, government-sponsored enterprises and international financial institutions. If the concept of state-corporate crime calls attention to the character and consequences of significant forms of crimes of the powerful, it tends to exclude attention to other forms of such crime. This article also addresses Steve Tombs’ critique of state-corporate crime as it applies to what are here characterized as crimes of globalization. It considers the conundrum involved in a tension between achieving theoretical sophistication and in promoting effective responses to crimes of the powerful. It is a core premise of the analysis set forth here that in a rapidly changing, increasingly globalized twenty-first-century world, the forms of crime addressed here will necessarily attract more attention, especially relative to the traditional focus on conventional crime. A criminology that aspires to remain relevant in this environment must transform its understanding of crime.


state-corporate crime, international financial institutions, crimes of globalization, systematic production of crime, criminological concepts of crime