'He just wasn't the bloke I used to know': Social capital and the fragmentation of a British organised crime network

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Windle, James
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To the author's best knowledge there have been few empirical studies on the fragmentation of organised crime groups.1 This is not surprising when you consider that the internal dynamics of co-offending groups are largely hidden from official records and, while studies on organised crime employing direct observations and interviews are valuable, recruitment of willing participants can be difficult. Such studies can be also expensive, time consuming, potentially risky, and present ethical barriers. As argued in the introduction to this volume, historical sources can provide an important alternative to these traditional social science methods. This chapter employs (auto)biographies as an historical source to investigate the formation and fragmentation of an organised crime network operational in Essex and London between the late-1980s and 1995. The overlapping sociological theories of trust and social capital are used to guide analysis of the historical data. It is suggested that the network under investigation (Tuckers Firm or the Firm) fragmented when the core clique’s actions and attitudes reduced their social capital with others operating within the network. This supports previous research that violence and dishonesty can be unhelpful for criminal entrepreneurs. The next section will discuss the usefulness and limitations of (auto)biographies as historical sources for the study of organised crime.
Organized crime groups , Organized crime , Criminal entrepreneurs , Social capital
Windle, J. (2018) ''He just wasn't the bloke I used to know': Social capital and the fragmentation of a British organised crime network', in: Windle, J., Morrison, J. F., Winter, A. and Silke, A. (eds)., Historical Perspectives on Organised Crime and Terrorism, Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 75-90. isbn: 9781138652651
© 2018 selection and editorial matter, James Windle, John F. Morrison, Aaron Winter and Andrew Silke; individual chapters, the contributors. This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Historical Perspectives on Organized Crime and Terrorism, on March 1, 2018, available online: http://www.routledge.com/9781315624099