Suite Revenge?: The Shaping of Folk Devils and Moral Panics About White-Collar Crimes

Posted: 15 Dec 2008

Date Written: January 2009

Abstract

The utility of ‘concern, hostility, consensus, disproportionality and volatility’ to understanding social reaction to different white-collar crimes is elaborated and reviewed. It is hard to generate and to sustain a moral panic about any white-collar crimes and criminals, but some populist areas such as ‘identity fraud’ and ‘investment fraud’ are good candidates, especially where individuals, ethnicities or ‘organized crime networks’ exist as folk devils already. Long time scales in fraud discovery, investigation and criminal justice actions, as well as real libel risks, inhibit the devilling and the moral panicking processes. By contrast with street crimes, key state actors manage ‘the problem of fraud’ mainly by data-sharing, compensation and regulation, plus some symbolic degradation ceremonies, calming the factors that might stoke ‘counterproductive’ reactions that might harm ‘the economy’.

Suggested Citation

Levi, Michael, Suite Revenge?: The Shaping of Folk Devils and Moral Panics About White-Collar Crimes (January 2009). The British Journal of Criminology, Vol. 49, Issue 1, pp. 48-67, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1315136 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azn073

Michael Levi (Contact Author)

Cardiff University ( email )

Glamorgan Building
King Edward VII Avenue
Cardiff, Wales CF10 3WT
United Kingdom
029-20874376 (Phone)

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