Constructing White-collar Crime: Rationalities, Communication, Power

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University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994 - Law - 179 pages
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Criminal law norms are socially derived, being constructed in political processes, but only recently has criminological research began to focus on the political construction of criminal law. There has been increasing interest in the quality of these political processes, the decisions that result, and the rationales and social forces guiding these decisions.

In Constructing White-Collar Crime, Joachim J. Savelsberg, a sociologist, and Peter Bruhl, a lawyer, have provided an interdisciplinary case study of the construction of new German laws against white-collar crime, relating their results to internationally comparative findings. The analysis is empirical; it is theoretically grounded in a sociological approach that contrasts Marxist versus pluralist or differentiation theory, and functionalist versus conflict group or action theory. The authors also analyze their findings in relation to Max Weber's theory of rationalization of law. In addition the research is methodologically innovative, introducing the technique of cognitive mapping into the study of criminal justice legislation. The book represents the authors' attempts to bridge the gap between microsociological and macrosociological approaches to the construction of criminal law.

The authors analyze action rationales, communication patterns, and power structures as they play out in different stages of the law-making process: claims-making in news media; participation of scholars and practitioners in an expert commission and in parliamentary hearings; involvement of industrial lobbying groups during the drafting of the bill in the Department of Justice; and parliamentary deliberations. The analysis demonstrates the considerable weight of economic and political rationales as opposed to justice criteria in the development of criminal legislation. It also indicates that white-collar crime legislation may have counterproductive consequences. The laws are intended to increase the quality of criminal justice by criminalizing the behavior of the powerful, but the less powerful groups within the white-collar classes are more likely to feel the effects.

Constructing White-Collar Crime will be of interest to students and scholars in the areas of sociology, law, and criminology.

 

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Contents

Questions Introduction to the Case and Overview
3
The legislative process
6
Theory and Methods in the Study
11
From Claims Making
31
Developing the Claims
53
Role of the expert commission
58
Positions and votes in the expert commission
67
Positions of commission members on the Criminalization Scale
69
Cognitive map of Representative D
110
Cognitive map of Representative A
111
Cognitive map of Representative E
112
Context Structures Situations and Argument
120
Types of cognitive maps
122
Complexity of maps by preparedness
123
Complexity of maps by government branch
124
Complexity of maps by majorityminority
125

Cognitive map of economic law professor U
71
Cognitive map of criminal law professor T
74
The Production of the Second Law Against Economic
87
Cognitive map of Representative B
108
Cognitive map of Representative C
109
Conclusions from the Case Study and
129
Commonalities
139
References
163
Copyright

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About the author (1994)

Joachim J. Savelsberg is Professor of Sociology and Law, and holds the Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian Chair, at the University of Minnesota. Peter Bruhl is free legal counsel in the state of Bremen, German.

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