Organised crime is a multi-factorial social problem. The study of organised crime in Asia has stimulated empirical investigations into a diversity of phenomena including the racialisation of criminals, supply chain organisation of illegal goods and services, corruption of legitimate actors and institutions, white collar criminality, and issues related to legislative frameworks and law enforcement efforts. Although the core subject is crime, efforts to understand, control, and eradicate organised crime in Asia has never been a uniquely criminological or even uniquely sociological endeavor. Instead of a monopoly by any single discipline, research into the field of organised crime in Asia has attracted scholars with diverse academic backgrounds including, psychology, economics, history, law and political science.
This course systematically charts and analyses the multidisciplinary dimensions of the study of organised crime in Asia, by drawing on scientific research done in the field of psychology, sociology, economics, political science, criminology, and cultural studies. Drawing on case study analysis of organised crime in Asia, metaphorical and substantive references to its interdisciplinary dimension will be highlighted on five levels of observation: the individual “organised criminal”, the activities these individuals are involved in, the associational patterns through which they are connected, the power structures that subordinate these individuals and collectives to common or particular interests, and the relations between these individuals, structures and activities on the one hand, and the legal spheres of society on the other. Subsequently, the course will highlight the advantages and critique the limitations of a multidisciplinary analysis of organised crime in Asia. In general, the study of organised crime has profited from an multidisciplinary approach. In these cases, concepts and theories have been adopted either on the assumption that organised crime is a facet of a larger phenomenon under investigation in other disciplines, or on the assumption that sufficient similarities exist between organised crime and the objects of study of other disciplines in order to permit the drawing of analogies. However, it is equally important to address the caveat that unless the borrowing of eclectic oncepts and theories from a variety of academic disciplines is strategically done to build up a cumulative body of knowledge, efforts to conceptualise, theorise, and police the complex phenomenon of organised crime in Asia will be compromised rather than facilitated.
Upon successful completion of this course students will be able to: