Crimes of States and Powerful Elites

Crimes of States and Powerful Elites

A Collection of Case Studies

Edited by Claudia Radiven & Simon Prideaux

A collection of case studies investigating the crimes of the powerful, the social harms caused and the perpetuation of inequalities through lack of prosecution.

PDF, 236 Pages


July 2021

£25.00, $40.00

EPUB, 236 Pages


July 2021

£25.00, $40.00

  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents
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About This Book

This book explores fourteen international case studies of ‘crimes of the powerful’, both contemporary and historical. As such, it explores a hidden and often unknown area of criminal and immoral activity beyond the more commonly studied field of conventional or ‘street’ crimes. It offers a unique insight into different examples of criminality and immorality enacted by the powerful, including corporations, states and criminal networks. The case studies include little-known and more widely known events, offering a critical sociological or forensic analysis of each case. By doing so, the book explores what kinds of criminality or immorality the case exemplifies and identifies key contextual and legislative factors facilitating their occurrence and limiting the perpetrators’ accountability. The critical analytical approach situates the case studies within the wider context and considers the role of social, political and other factors, such as neoliberalism, colonialist histories, inequalities of race and gender and globalisation in their facilitation of particular kinds of immoral or criminal acts. Fundamentally, it explores the legacies of social harm produced by the case study events and how these have played out over time.

Drawing upon themes like disasters, medico-crimes, genocide, corporate crime, organised crime, colonial crimes and internment, the book explores key concepts like critical criminology, sociology and legislation combined with critical social policy. It will also include corporate crime, white collar crime, professional crime and social harm. These concepts will be outlined and then applied in the case studies as a way of understanding and analytically engaging with the individual cases.

Being highly topical, the book reflects a growing popular and academic interest in the social harms produced by the actions of the powerful relating to the legacies and consequences of colonialism, and the impacts of global inequalities, particularly in terms of race and gender. Offering a critical sociological perspective on these issues, the book presents a novel insight into criminality which has interdisciplinary relevance in diverse disciplines including criminology, sociology, social policy and law, geography, environmental studies, international politics and development, peace studies and critical gender studies.


“This collection of case studies enhances our understanding of the crimes committed by states and the rich and powerful. The range of cases is impressive as are the insights provided by the authors. Bringing together different aspects and dimensions of state crimes, this book will be an important ‘go-to’ for material and examples to support a shift in the focus of key areas of criminological enquiry towards a concern with the harms and crimes of the rich and powerful across different societies.” — Gerry Mooney, Senior Lecturer in Social Policy and Criminology, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, The Open University in Scotland

Author Information

Claudia Radiven is a final year PhD student at the University of Leeds researching de-radicalisation and colonial racial governance in the UK.

Simon Prideaux is an assistant professor of social welfare and crime in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds. 


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; List of Contributors; Introduction, Claudia Radiven and Simon Prideaux; Chapter One Disasters in Aberfan and Grenfell, Claudia Radiven and Simon Prideaux; Chapter Two Medico: Big Pharma and the Flint Water Crisis, Claudia Radiven and Simon Prideaux; Chapter Three Genocide: The Rohingya and Forced Sterilisation of Women of Colour in the United States, Claudia Radiven and Simon Prideaux; Chapter Four State Crime, Corporate Crime and Organised Crime in the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the Congo, Claudia Radiven and Simon Prideaux; Chapter Five Organised Crime: County Lines in the United Kingdom and the Problem of Bosnian ‘Peacekeepers’, Claudia Radiven and Simon Prideaux; Chapter Six Colonial Crimes: The Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand and Residential Schools in Canada, Claudia Radiven and Simon Prideaux; Chapter Seven Internment: Yarl’s Wood and the Magdalene Laundries, Claudia Radiven and Simon Prideaux; Index.


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