Organized Crime: Abadinsky vs Cressey

Topics: Mafia, Cosa Nostra, Sociology Pages: 3 (1024 words) Published: October 16, 2012
To help understand how organized crime works and what definition can be better applied so as to reduce, if not eliminate this issue, I will examine and relate the definition of organized crime as given by Abadinsky and Cressey. Each holds a lot of similarities with the other but certain distinctions between the two set them apart which will be discussed to better comprehend how organized crime, and those involved in it, operate. First, I will look at Abadinsky’s definition of organized crime which is that, “organized crime is a non-ideological enterprise involving a number of persons in close social interaction, organized on a hierarchical basis, with at least three levels/ranks, for the purpose of securing profit and power by engaging in illegal and legal activities” (Danis, Module 1, Slide 20). This definition sounds quite like that of a firm in a market in its aims at the very least; however, the word “non-ideological” sets it apart and makes it clear that all participants in organized crime are present for their own interest, which is basically getting quick money in whatever way they can. In Merton’s Theory of Anomie, he argued that due to the importance given to economic status, people keep the means in disregard as long as their wealth will grow (Danis, Module 3, Slide 6). According to Abadinsky, either skill or ties with those at the top of the hierarchical pyramid determines their place in said structure but the permanency is determined through “loyalty”. Abadinsky also mentions the existence of “explicit rules, oral or written, which are enforced by sanctions that include murder” to maintain discipline (Danis, Module 1, Slide 20) and it is exemplified by the “code of conduct known as omerta” (Danis, Module 2, Slide 2), a sort of guidebook for the Sicilian Mafia or “La Cosa Nostra”. Through this association, I can say that Abadinsky’s definition is applicable to the big names in organized crime but before making any claims, we must analyze Cressey’s...
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