Psychosocial Balance Sheets: Illicit Purchase Decisions in the Antiquities Market
Current Issues in Criminal Justice, Vol. 18, No. 2, November 2006
20 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2007
The article explores dealers' perceptions of the ethics of their trade. The data suggests the presence of mediating "choice-influencing" factors providing a link between matters structural and individual acts of wrongdoing. The mediating factors identified are "empathy" - a form of care for the Other central to the Levinas/Bauman construction of morality - and "entitlement". They are seen as linked. I examine the place of these mediators in the decision-making process. The data support the assertions that: (a) in many of its proclamations the law wholly fails to engage with the population it purports to govern; and (b) in part this failure is due to psychological mechanisms which employ techniques of neutralisation in a systematic way, to found an entitlement to participate in harmful activity.
Keywords: illicit, antiquities, looting, crime, empathy, morality, entitlement
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