Students Staff

21 October 2013

Essex Professor wins Outstanding Publication Award for book on organised crime

Colchester Campus

Professor of Sociology and Director of the Centre for Criminology at the University of Essex, Dick Hobbs, is the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Publication Award from the International Association for the Study of Organized Crime (IASOC). Professor Hobbs receives the award for his recent book Lush Life: Constructing Organized Crime in the UK.

Hailed as the first book to trace the history and policing of British organised crime, Lush Life, through examples, case studies, stories and interviews, addresses how the interlocking processes of de-industrialisation, globalisation and neo-liberalism have normalised activity that was previously the exclusive domain of professional criminals. In the words of one Assistant Chief Constable the book opens ‘the box marked do not open, too difficult to deal with’ in order to explore the contested notion of British organised crime.

Following on from his previous work Doing the Business and Bad Business, Lush Life is set in an ethnographic site of several overlapping neighbourhoods in East London that Professor Hobbs calls ‘Dogtown’. The book looks at criminal underworlds and the notion of the criminal ‘family’ firm, such as the Krays and the Richardsons. It also looks at the precursors to British organised crime and the emergence of specialised law enforcement institutions designed to deal with this newly discovered threat. It focuses on the various ways in which violence functions within organised crime, the role of rumour in formulating order within crime networks, the social construction of organised crime, the development of the cosmopolitan criminal and the all-inclusive nature of the contemporary criminal community of practice. Permeating throughout is a discussion of the flexible nature of the criminal market, the constructed nature of the notion of organised crime, and the normalisation of criminality.

After hearing he had won the award Professor Hobbs said: “Organised crime is big news at the moment, particularly with the formation of the National Crime Agency. It is great to receive recognition from an international body such as the IASOC.”

IASOC is a professional association of criminologists, researchers, working professionals, teachers and students interested in the subject of organised crime. The IASOC was founded in 1984 and has grown into a global organization with members on all continents. The Outstanding Publication Award recognises outstanding scholarship in the broadly defined area of organised crime.

Dr Klaus von Lampe, President of the IASOC, said: “The 2013 award is given to Dick Hobbs’ Lush Life because it was found that this book strikes a nice balance of intellectual analysis whilst simultaneously putting a face on the kinds of organized criminals who exist outside of mafia-type associations”.

More information

If you are a journalist and would like further information or to talk to Professor Hobbs, please contact Catherine McDonald, Faculty Communications Officer for Social Sciences at the University of Essex: 07515 116547 :

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