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The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (7th edn)

Alison Liebling, Shadd Maruna, and Lesley McAra
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date: 13 April 2024

p. 1667. Urban criminal collaborationslocked

p. 1667. Urban criminal collaborationslocked

  • Alistair Fraser
  •  and Dick Hobbs


This chapter examines a range of criminological classifications for urban criminal groups, covering both youthful and adult-oriented collaborations. The chapter provides a critical overview of the following categorizations: gangs; subcultures; professional crime; the underworld; and organized crime. Debates relating to each are introduced. While criminological approaches to youthful groups have a clear history, from the ‘Chicago School’ to the ‘Birmingham School’, perspectives on adult groups are less solid and more interdisciplinary. In both cases, the chapter argues that criminological classifications have struggled to capture the complexities brought on by the changing nature of the urban political economy. The chapter concludes by introducing a critical perspective that problematizes criminological categorizations of urban criminal collaborations.

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