Organised Crime in USA (HIC2324)

15 credits

A quick glance at the internet and popular media will show that histories of organized crime seem to have the answer as to why the Mafia flourished, or why it was that New York Jews or San Francisco Chinese could produce a genuine shadow economy in the early decades of the 1920s. Most of these provide simple answers to this complex problem: most of them are wrong. This module aims to contextualise and analyse the reasons why the US developed such a healthy, unchecked and notorious organized criminal world. It aims to achieve this by expanding the parameters of what is normally termed “organized crime” beyond the usual gangster/Mafia/mobster typecasts and looking at the relations between crime and business; crime and politics; crime and urbanization and crime and policing. By combining this with an examination of the ethnic, class and geographic drivers for criminal behavior it will examine why all these elements combined to produce what seemed like an efflorescence of syndicated and organized crime in the early years of twentieth century America