Despite a lack of consensus on a definition white

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Despite a lack of consensus on a definition, white-collar crime enjoys wide-spread usage, research, and contributes greatly to political and social discourse. The true value of the term has been to alert scholars and laypersons to the misdeeds of the wealthy, powerful, and the elite.
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Benefits of researching WCC Challenges simplistic explanations of crime Illustrate the unequal distribution of power/wealth Examples of illegitimate exercises of power Shows changes in social and business life Identify shortcomings in regulation Helps to understand our “real” social values (money!)
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Who is the Criminal?
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This Lecture Examines the controversies that followed Sutherland’s definition of white-collar crime Attempts to identify white-collar criminals
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Controversy Sutherland was both cavalier and imprecise with his definition of white- collar crime This led to controversy for both scholars and the legal community
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The Legal
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The Legal: What is Crime? Before we can say who is a criminal, we must first define what we mean by “crime” Many definitions are available, though a legal definition might be most appropriate
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Crime According to Black’s: An act that the law makes punishable; the breach of a legal duty treated as the subject-matter of a criminal proceeding. It’s a crime because there is a law against it
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A practical definition, in English Crime is an intentional act (or omission) in violation of the criminal law (statutory and case law), committed without defense or excuse, and penalized by the state as a felony or misdemeanor.
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Consensus v. Conflict The limitations of legal definitions was exactly Sutherland’s point Never lose sight of who makes the rules, why they are made, and how they are enforced
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The Academic
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Paul Tappan Lawyer turned sociologist who taught at NYU and UC Berkley Sent his article to American Journal of Sociology in 1946 where they sent it to Sutherland himself to review Sutherland acknowledged the conflict of interests, even though he disliked Tappan’s idea and the contribution it made The article was rejected but published in ASR
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Who is the criminal (1947) Understands that criminologists want to study crime although they may feel they are missing the “big picture” by studying only those convicted However, it is inaccurate and unproductive to call those who are not Convicted of violating a criminal statute “criminal”
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Straight to the point “The “white-collar criminal” does not become a criminal through sociological name calling unless politically constituted authority says he does.” (Tappan, 1947 p.101). How does this relate to the argument Sutherland made? How does this relate to criminology as a whole?
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The Aftermath Two options: Reform Scholars have attempted to create definitions that recognize the legal issues They haven’t really succeeded Ignore Others have rejected the narrow legal definition Obviously, the term continues to thrive
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