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Russian Mafia in America: Immigration, Culture and Crime Paperback – 31 Oct 2001
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"[The authors] make some illuminating points, particularly about the conditions that create the rise of organized crime, the importance of honor in criminal networks and the ways in which the media and mainstream society often view the criminal activity of immigrant groups as more violent and organized than it actually is." -Publishers Weekly
About the Author
JAMES O. FINCKENAUER is Director of the International Center at the National Institute of Justice. He is the author of Russian Youth and Organized Crime in America. He lives in Washington, D.C. ELIN J. WARING is Associate Professor of Sociology at the Herbert H. Lehman College, City University of New York. She is the coauthor of Crimes of the Middle Classes: White Collar Offenders in the Federal Courts. She lives in New York City.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
1. On ethnicity: On the first page of text the author states: "For all Russians, being especially adaptive and innovative often meant putting aside morality and legality, and this outlook-- characterized by rationalization, hypocrisy, and a double standard of morality-- to varying degrees shapes the thinking and behavior of almost all Soviet Russians who have come to America." A Russian immigrant friend of mine read this passage and said, "I agree completely." After some further thought he then said, "But doesn't this describe Americans as well?" The thought that criminal motivation is based on ethnicity is a throwback to organized crime theories up through the 1960s and 1970s. Social science recognizes that types of crimes may be related to ethnicity through experience and opportunity, but the rationalizations, hypocrisies, and double moral standards of organized criminals are human, rather than Russian American, traits.
2. There is a definite over dependence on governmental data sources. While government sources are useful, those of use in the field recognize the need to balance this information with other source types.
3. The conclusion is that there is no Russian Mafia in America. Summed up by one of my students: "Maybe the shape of mafia as an organized crime type has changed." The strict definition of "mafia" used in the book excludes almost every type of criminal organization found in the world today. More time should be spent on predicting future patterns or perhaps explaining how and why the "mafia" model is no longer applicable to organized crime in general. Part of this stems from too much reliance on government data which still organizes organized crime according to a mafia template.
One important good note: The discussion on how media distorts perceptions of organized crime is well written and, for the most part, well researched.
I think a book like this had to be written as part of the evolution of understanind on Russian-American organized crime. I say this in the hope that better things will eventually come about.
overseen, yes, by the Russian Mafia. Personally, I believe the Russian Mafia has weaknesses in organization, structure, and even leadership which will eventually weaken these Siberian slugs to a hard downfall. Further, from reading this book, I think the Russkies are enjoying capitalism just a little too much.