Codes of the Underworld: How Criminals Communicate
How do criminals communicate with each other? Unlike the rest of us, people planning crimes can't freely advertise their goods and services, nor can they rely on formal institutions to settle disputes and certify quality. They face uniquely intense dilemmas as they grapple with the basic problems of whom to trust, how to make themselves trusted, and how to handle information without being detected by rivals or police. In this book, one of the world's leading scholars of the mafia ranges from ancient Rome to the gangs of modern Japan, from the prisons of Western countries to terrorist and pedophile rings, to explain how despite these constraints, many criminals successfully stay in business.
Diego Gambetta shows that as villains balance the lure of criminal reward against the fear of dire punishment, they are inspired to unexpected feats of subtlety and ingenuity in communication. He uncovers the logic of the often bizarre ways in which inveterate and occasional criminals solve their dilemmas, such as why the tattoos and scars etched on a criminal's body function as lines on a professional résumé, why inmates resort to violence to establish their position in the prison pecking order, and why mobsters are partial to nicknames and imitate the behavior they see in mafia movies. Even deliberate self-harm and the disclosure of their crimes are strategically employed by criminals to convey important messages.
By deciphering how criminals signal to each other in a lawless universe, this gruesomely entertaining and incisive book provides a quantum leap in our ability to make sense of their actions.
companies went bankrupt one by one when the film industry started to decline in 1995.”25 Movie production and organized crime do not really merge. At most they are linked by a limited business partnership, sometimes forced on producers and sometimes sought by them. Mobsters may be popularly depicted as shrewd businessmen when in fact they only know how to run their business—enforcement, protection, and bullying—while if they stray into other businesses they tend to go bankrupt and make fools of
Canada. At its peak in 1993, the Heritage Front was the largest and best-organized neo-Nazi group in Canada, boasting a contact list of 1,800 names. Grant Bristow, cofounder and a leading member of this white racist group, turned out to be a paid informant of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. “Bristow orchestrated a harassment campaign that terrorized Front enemies, harbored leading international racists in his own home in clear violation of both CSIS rules and the Immigration Act, and
remarkably subtle account of how the only way to mask fear is by truly cultivating negative emotions, such as hatred and suspicion, which can override fear. “You can't just say that I'm afraid, but I'm going to be brave. It won't work…. If you can't change your emotions then you're gone. And you are going to stay weak…. Instead of engaging in the fear, I forced the hostility until it was a bigger point than the fear. And that is all part of forcing another emotion forward to camouflage the
lines, one could argue that since drug addiction is more frequent among jailed women than among jailed men, female prisoners are selected from a subset that is particularly prone to violence. Still, the gender differences in drug use seem to be small and thus insufficient to account for the gender differences in prison violence.48 So, in conclusion, the evidence is consistent with hypothesis 2a, in that women, like younger males, have lower accumulated “violence capital” to display that could
other patients, did not self-harm. “She instilled fear in others by her demeanour.” She turned out to be a murderer. (The story came up when he told us that staff are more worried by patients who sit quietly, smile, and observe than by those who self-cut.) Yet two conditions may constrain this option and make either fighting or DSH more likely to occur: one is environmental and the other concerns the individual's history of violence. The ability to test predictions that DSH is associated with