Crime definition and control are central to the transnational condition

September 25, 2008

Toronto, Canada - September 24, 2008 - Transnational crime refers to crime that takes place across national borders. An article in the journal International Political Sociology shows that the significance of transnational crime is poorly understood but has had profound consequences for the ordering of the world system.

James Sheptycki, Professor of Criminology at York University explores the interdisciplinary study of the global system by using the perspectives of critical criminology. Crime definition and control have been central aspects of governance since the early modern period and this is no less true now that governance has become transnational or global.

The article suggests that the contemporary global system is ripe with existential anxieties that are symptoms of momentous historical change and argues that, for good or bad, crime definition and control have become crucial to the transnational condition.

The fears suggested by the term transnational crime have been used to justify increasing policing powers. This increase in global policing power is detrimental to efforts to democratize the world system.

"Critical insight is crucial if we are to break out of the current cycle of fear and insecurity which means seeing through the fog of globalization crisis talk," Sheptycki notes. "Theories from criminology are a useful addition to international political sociology and there seems little doubt that such insights will be called upon again and again as crime and insecurity are repeatedly muscled onto the agenda of global governance."
This study is published in the journal International Political Sociology. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact

James Sheptycki is affiliated with York University and can be reached for questions at

International Political Sociology (IPS), responds to the need for more productive collaboration among political sociologists, international relations specialists and sociopolitical theorists. It is especially concerned with challenges arising from contemporary transformations of social, political, and global orders given the statist forms of traditional sociologies and the marginalization of social processes in many approaches to international relations.

Wiley-Blackwell was formed in February 2007 as a result of the acquisition of Blackwell Publishing Ltd. by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and its merger with Wiley's Scientific, Technical, and Medical business. Together, the companies have created a global publishing business with deep strength in every major academic and professional field. Wiley-Blackwell publishes approximately 1,400 scholarly peer-reviewed journals and an extensive collection of books with global appeal. For more information on Wiley-Blackwell, please visit or


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