The Politics of Criminal Victimization: Pursuing and Resisting Power

Perspectives on Politics, Forthcoming

48 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2018

Date Written: September 19, 2018


Within the growing research on the politics of crime victims are seen as resigned to their fates at the hands of powerful criminal actors. But the conventional approach to criminal victimization as a traumatic but one-time act obscures from view a layer of contentious and dynamic politics between victims and criminal actors that we have yet to analyze. I develop a new theoretical framework to analyze the strategic behaviors that victims and criminals undertake as part of the political process of criminal victimization. The framework enables us to better observe, conceptualize and theorize how victims exercise agency vis-à-vis their criminal perpetrators, and the behaviors and practices that criminal victimizers undertake but which are overlooked by the traditional focus on their use and threat of coercive force. I illustrate the framework’s analytic utility with an empirical analysis of the victimization of informal street vendors in a major Latin American city under a criminal protection racket. The argument and empirical findings suggest ways to expand and deepen the research agenda on the politics of criminal victimization.

Keywords: crime, violence, Latin America, resistance, protection rackets

Suggested Citation

Moncada, Eduardo, The Politics of Criminal Victimization: Pursuing and Resisting Power (September 19, 2018). Perspectives on Politics, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

Eduardo Moncada (Contact Author)

Barnard College ( email )

3009 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States


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