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But in todays age where borders are less important, crime is also becoming borderless. Today, many countries are interconnected and many countries are involved in crimes such as drugs and human trafficking or illegal wildlife trade.
Firstly, it will be argued that criminology must move beyond the nation state
Reference to different forms of transnational crime will be made throughout the essay as examples and illustration of an argument. Also, the nature of transnational crime will be explored, with heavier emphasis on this essay's main interest- drug trafficking. Literature used in this essay is mostly British and American, but a number of publications from around the world have also been used ( this was unintentional, but does represent the international academic input into transnational crimes).
The main case study will focus on mass murders in Guyana in 2008, which were linked to the strategic position within drug trail in South American countries.
Finally, responses to transnational crimes will be analysed.
Many writers have challenged the general, Western criminology (writers such as Agozino, Sheptycki, Aas and Nelken). Comparative criminology has aimed to remedy criticisms of Occidentalism, Orientalism, ethnocentricity and relativism. However, transnational criminology goes further than the comparative framework and tries to explore issues by analysing links and connections between places (Bowling, eds).
Previously, criminology has focused on the national and international levels of crime. Since Sutherland coined the term "white collar crime", international forms of crime have been considered and became part of criminology. However, today we are faced with transnational forms of crime. Martin and Romano (1992) point out that transnational crimes are not just an extension of domestic crimes. Indeed, today a number of countries can be involved with, for example, drug trafficking. Moreover, Fijnaut (2000) points out that "the adjective "transnational" suggests that all types of crime mentioned, recognise no national boundaries and, geographically speaking, take place in a vacuum, as it were (p. 120). Keeping in mind the drug trafficking example, plenty of countries are involved in the so called Southeast Asian Golden Triangle, where opium production and refining have been a longstanding problem (Martin and Romano, 1992). The area of the Golden Triangle is rather sophisticated in its work as it has close links with around sixteen countries (as estimated by Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 1988).
In the twenty-first century, criminology is haunted with the specter of globalisation (Friedrich, 2007). Globalisation has connected societies and countries which are far away- as Aas (2007) points out, "interconnectedness leads to "information revolution", which has had a profound effect on all aspects of social life" (p. 9). Moreover, the movement of goods and people relatively easy and many crimes have been aided by this (Bowling, 2008). Terrorism, espionage, human trafficking for prostitution and low cost labour, money laundering, arms dealing, wildlife trade and art/ antiques smuggling- all of these crimes have "benefited" from ease of communication and movement.
However, Godson and Williams (1998) argue that globalisation facilitates the movement of "dirty money" as well as transportation of drugs and other crimes mentioned above. It is not surprising that increased interdependency between nations, global economy and expansion of communications have fundamentally contributed and continue to contribute to transnational crime activities (William, 1994).
Moreover, Muncie (2004) suggests that the concept of globalisation is ethnocentric as it focuses on developments in neo- liberal English speaking countries (p. 154). Because of this criminologists tend not to consider "Third World" countries or, when they do, they are treated in a "theoretically primitive way", as Cohen (1982) puts it. If criminology is to move beyond the nation state, those issues must be addressed. The imbalance of production of knowledge from developed and developing countries leads to due to little research, criminologists often ignore "Third World" countries altogether (Agozino, 2004).
A small, but slowly growing group of criminologists have shifted their focus from questioning the local or national nature of crime and have recognised the transnational and global crimes. Also, the limitations of traditional criminology are being recognised, thus progressive criminologists tend to argue that we are seeing a strong emergence of a global criminology, one which is not restricted to a nation state. So far, a number of crimes have already been mentioned in this essay shows the wide scope and range of transnational crimes- just by these few examples, it is evident that not one of these crimes is confined to just one country or territory.
Traditional criminology is confined to its theories and methodologies and as a discipline it has been criticised for being slow to catch up with ever- changing, post- modern, globalised world (Friedrich, 2007). The academia is somewhat split on the issue and there are some objections to criminology being more concerned with transnational and global crimes. However, this essay supports the arguments put forward by Friedrich (2007), who has argued that if criminology is to remain a relevant discipline in the twenty first century, then it must adapt to a global framework and transnational crime and justice. Therefore, it is not surprising that for some time now, some writers including Chan (2005) and Braithwaite (1989) have argued that criminology is in a state of crisis.
The main writer on the need for criminology to move beyond the nation state is Wayne Morrison. He has argued that for too long criminology has refused to treat genocide and other forms of crimes against the humanity as an important part of the discipline.
Also showing support for criminology's move beyond nation state is Aas (2007), who argues that "it is a vital task for global criminology, if it is to deserve its name, is to disturb the hegemony of Western thought within criminology, and to establish, as Cain (2000) suggests, some kind of "interactive globalisation"". In other words, criminology should move beyond its traditional parameters and through establishment of more global thought which goes beyond nation state, become less constrained by its traditions, which fail to understand and respond to transnational crime. Transnational criminology is concerned with cross- border and transnational crimes such as drug, arms and people trafficking, money laundering or state crimes.
Aas (2007) argues that criminology is still somewhat ill equipped theoretically and methodologically to deal with importance of transnational transformations and "space of flows". She goes on to argue that some critics have pointed out that complete focus on the state as the natural unit stops it from capturing and understanding fundamental changes created by globalisation. Globalisation has political, cultural and economic dimensions, which are intensified by global interconnection and communication (Friedrich, 2007). Because of this the societies have changed. Traditional societies' focus on crime and its control are local and individual, where as in postmodern societies they are global (Friedrich, 2007, p. 9).
The discussion about the nation state and criminology's need beyond it has highlighted an interesting shift in focus. This shift is particularly vital to issues of policing and security and analysis of dynamic nature of transnational crime. Because of this, traditional focus of criminology and criminal law on the nation state has been challenged. Moreover, the shift towards "the global" has made the notion of society rather problematic as it has been a unit of sociological and criminological enquiry over the last two centuries (Aas, 2007). To put this argument in the context of drug trafficking today, we can no longer look at the problem of drug trafficking in Afghanistan or Russia without considering other Asian or European countries.
Friedrich (2007, p. 12) predicts that criminology will find it increasingly hard to engage in a discussion on global governance of crime, especially in relation to transnational crime and its control. Also, if criminology was to maintain its national focus, it can slowly lose sight of global inequalities and injustice. As Beck (2003) has pointed out, "fragmentation of the world into nation states removes accountability for global inequalities" (p. 50).
The process of globalisation has also had an impact on the role of the nation state. Writers such as Ohmae (1990) and Reich (1991) are quite sceptical about the ability of the nation state to be a bedrock for political community, social theory and governance.
Another argument in favour of criminology moving beyond the nation state, is one of moving beyond state defined crime and deviance to a wider spectrum of acts and harms which are too often overlooked as state defined crimes are rather narrow. Moreover, Cohen (2002) has stated that nation states are also states of denial. If we look at the nation state in this way, it becomes clearer that the global perspective if not only a valuable but ethical approach.
The nature of drugs trafficking is a rather complex issue. It is not a new phenomenon, but it is worth a billion dollars annually (Eehrenfeldt, 2003). Transnational crimes have been described as a "dark side" of globalisation (Urry, 2002). This is because drug trafficking has posed as a threat on territories and populations of Afghanistan, Central Asia and Russia (Engvall, 2006). With relation to drug trafficking, transnational criminology seeks to explain production as well as distribution (and consumption) which are linked by either time or place (Bowling, eds). As the case study will illustrate, explanations can be very hard to find as drug trails are highly organised and distribution (in South America and Europe) have contributed to a number on needless deaths.
In order to illustrate the nature of crime, this essay will now focus on the case study of a drug trail in South America.
South American countries on the coast of the Caribbean have been affected by the cocaine trail for decades. The train runs through Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela, Suriname and Guyana to East Caribbean where it is shipped out to Europe. The move of cocaine has become so central to the work of organised groups in these regions and it has created a very (economically) powerful underworld. Most of the groups in each country is closely linked not only with each other but also business people and corrupt officials who are responsible for safe passage of the product. Also, armed violence has reached extremely high levels in those countries.
In 2008, 31 people lost their lives in mass murders in Guyana, including women and children. All three events were linked to organised groups involved in the cocaine trail. Lusigian village was attacked in the middle on the night by a gang of twenty.
Month later, town of Batica (which is a strategic exit point to South America) was attacked, workers and Police officers were killed, businesses were robbed.
After two months, eight mine workers were killed in Lindo Creek.
This case study may seem as an unlikely choice, since mass murders are seldom written about in British criminology journals. However, it must be understood that Guyana is in a strategic place on the transatlantic cocaine trade. Its open borders with Surinam, Brazil and Venezuela and open waterways are used to the advantage of organised groups involved in trafficking.
This particular case study has raised a number of questions about transnational criminology. As it was mentioned earlier in this essay, criminological theory from developed countries is helpless in explaining crimes in developing countries. Moreover, case studies such as this one draw the attention of criminologists to the impact of drug prohibition and the illegal trade that has resulted from this. The nature of the trade is creating heavily armed gangs in shipment countries such as Guyana, Mexico or Brazil.
This case study also highlights the blurring lines between national and international (crime was committed in Guyana, but has links to a dozen countries) as well as re-evaluation of theoretical frameworks by which criminology operates. This case study is not just about where the crime takes place, but broader implications of drug trade and other forms of transnational organised crime on criminology.
Aas (2007) points out that new complexity of transnational crime present new challenges on a local, national and international authorities in terms of control. In terms of organised crime, with focus on drug trafficking, it is natural to assume that increasing organised, global activity is resulting in transnational policing of such crimes. Transnational crime, which takes place within an international community, need a systematic solutions as Wang and Wang (2009) argue. They put forward a suggestions that those systematic responses should include research, prevention strategies, stronger law enforcement as well as political co-operation should be encouraged. Furthermore, they argue that international co-operation on this issue is more essential than ever in the history of mankind.
The United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Division was set up in 1975 in order to deal with transnational crimes (see, for example, Farrington and Petrosino, 2001). However, the involvement of UN is quite problematic to reach an agreed strategy regarding transnational crimes with many countries due to cultural differences and differences in criminal justice systems (Sheptycki, 2005). Some criminologists, however, welcome increase involvement of NGOs as part of the responses to transnational crimes.
In Europe, organisations such as Interpol are one of the responses to drug problem and generally to transnational organised crimes. European Union, the Schengen scheme and World Customs Organisation are together seen as a development of global governance.
Moreover, the majority of countries seem to have followed the lead of the US and their "war on drugs". Woodwiss (2003) argues that US understanding of transnational crimes and responses to it have dominated public debates and have influenced possible solution to this problem.
Responses to transnational crimes more and more often rely on military responses, thus blurring of boundaries between crime control and warfare. This is often the outcome of today's risk societies tend to put forward the need for security rather than justice.
This essay's main aim was to argue that criminology needs to move beyond the nation state. A wide range of arguments has been presented, majority of which provide valid reason as to why criminology should move beyond the nation state. Different forms of transnational crime have been throughout they essay, main focus being drug trafficking.
Case study of Guyana murders on the drug trail was used to illustrate the difficult nature of transnational crimes and criminology's inability (or unwillingness) to broaden its horizons.
Whilst exploring responses to transnational crime, various problems have been unravelled. The main problem is the unlikely possibility of general consensus between countries. A number of organisations including the UN and EU have set up complex initiatives and international cooperation is the primary response, followed by US lead solutions.