This module is a resource for lecturers  


Research and independent study questions


a)  How do technological advances, including social media, change the way criminal groups are organized?

b)  What difference does it make, if any, if drug trafficking or human trafficking is carried out by an organized criminal group with a hierarchical structure?

c)  What is the role of trust within different models of organized criminal groups?

d)  What is the impact of culture and religion on the structure of organized criminal groups? Can one use fraternal or nepotistic value systems to explain why criminal groups are structured in a particular way? 

e)  One of the most important trends to emerge in criminological thinking about organized crime in recent years is the suggestion that it is not, in a formal sense, "organized" at all. Do you agree or disagree? Explain your position.

f)  Transnational organized crime has been portrayed as a "self-perpetuating association of individuals who operate transnationally for the purpose of obtaining power, influence, and monetary and/or commercial gains, while (…) protecting their illegal activities through a transnational organizational structure and the exploitation of transnational commerce or communication mechanisms" (see FBI). What does "self-perpetuation" mean? What kind of a criminal structure is likely to be more "self-perpetuating" among those discussed in the Module? Why? Provide real-life examples in support of your answer.

g)  Analyse the autobiography of a member of an organized criminal group with a view to understanding the way illegal economic activities are structured in terms of markets, networks and hierarchies.

h)  Study some of the initiation ceremonies used by organized criminal groups. Does it make a difference if a criminal organization uses initiation ceremonies and other associational rituals for the structure, internal discipline, and the possibility for members to leave the organization?


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