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Contents and Abstracts

Volume 1 Issue 2

State Crime Journal Volume 1 1/2 19th October 2012




1.  Symbiosis in the Production of Crime and Harm

Steve Tombs

Steve Tombs is Professor of Sociology at Liverpool John Moores University.

Abstract: This article seeks to tease out the various processes by which states and corporations exist in increasingly symbiotic relationships, which in turn are crucial to understanding the systematic, routine production of crimes and harms. Despite the value of the concept of “state-corporate crime”, it tends to obscure these underlying relationships and processes through an abstracted focus on events and collaborations. At worst, this tends towards an empiricism which fails to advance our understanding of the dynamics of state-corporate relationships. This is a particularly timely moment for such considerations, as Governments and supranational capitalist institutions struggle to produce a “response” to the financial crisis, out of which are developing new forms of ongoing relationships between states and the corporate sector – themselves possibly producing new and greater levels of “crime”. The article concludes with suggestions as to how its insights may be operationalized.

Keywords: state-corporate crime; harm; regulation; the state; public/private

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2.   Foreign policy and the GWOT in the reproduction of Algerian state power 

Jeremy H. Keenan 

Jeremy Keenan is Professorial Research Associate in the Department of Social Anthropology and Sociology, at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University.

Abstract: This article reveals how Algeria has managed its foreign policy since the “Dirty War” of the 1990s, especially through its post 9/11 alliance with the USA, to re-establish itself in the international community and to re-equip its army with modern weaponry. Its relationship with the US, founded on the two states’ collusion in the fabrication of terrorism and their subsequent pursuance of the global war on terror (GWOT), is shown to be contradictory. By strengthening the Algerian mukhabarat (police state) and enabling it to become even more repressive, it has exacerbated the conditions that might lead to its own “Arab Spring”.

Keywords: Algeria; USA; Bouteflika; foreign policy; terrorism; “global war on terror”; GWOT; mukhabarat; Arab Spring

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3.  Vigilantism and State Crime in South Africa

James Martin

 James Martin is an Associate Lecturer in the Department of Criminology, Monash University.

Abstract: Vigilantism is a crime often associated with parochial gangs and rampaging mobs. Yet the conditions that catalyse vigilantism are beyond the remit of these groups, and instead implicate states in wilful acts of exploitation and criminal neglect. Across much of South Africa, the poverty and lawlessness created by apartheid has been left unaddressed in the nearly twenty years since democratic transition. Elites and others with sufficient means isolate themselves behind increasingly sophisticated layers of private security. Outside the walls, vigilantes emerge as what is often considered a necessary evil, providing one of the only options for security and also an avenue of protest identity. This article examines South African vigilantism through the prism of state crime, arguing that the state, and particularly its agents, the South African police, are guilty of crimes of omission, and of fostering a vigilante culture whereby private citizens have few alternatives but to turn upon one another in the name of justice.

Keywords: South Africa; vigilantism; South African Police Service; state crime; Zandspruit

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4.   The role of testimony and testimonial analysis in human rights advocacy and research

Ian Patel

Ian Patel is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the International State Crime Initiative.

Abstract: This article addresses the prominence of testimony evidence in the practice and theory of human rights. It examines the use of testimony in legal mechanisms, by international advocacy organizations, and in academic human rights research. It reflects on the reasons behind the prominence of testimony, treating it as a source of evidence, an advocacy tool, and a trope within human rights discourse. This article places testimony in political context, and explores the political implications of the fact that the narrative accounts of victims of state crime are utilized by international advocates/experts as a primary source of evidence. As an original theoretical discussion, this article critiques what it perceives to be the dominant epistemology of testimony in a human rights context. It concludes that the meaning and uses of testimony in a human rights context are curated by international experts, a trend that risks the disenfranchisement of witnesses from the meaning and uses to which their testimony is assigned.

Keywords: testimony; self-narration; liberalism; research methods; victim representation; sources of evidence

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Notes on the Contributors
Guidelines for Authors
Call for Papers

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