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Studying organized crime networks: Data sources, boundaries and the limits of structural measures

Accepted version
Peer-reviewed

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Type

Article

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Authors

Varese, Federico 

Abstract

Network studies of organized crime (OC) normally explore two key relational issues: the internal structure of groups and the interactions among groups. The paper first discusses in depth two data sources that have been used to address these questions -- phone wiretaps and police-generated “events”-- and reviews issues of validity, reliability and sampling. Next, it discusses challenges related to OC network data in general, focusing on the ‘double boundary specification’ problem and the time span of data collection. We conclude by arguing that structural analysis cannot be divorced from a deep contextual (qualitative) knowledge of the cases. The paper refers to concrete research dilemmas and solutions faced by scholars, including ourselves.

Description

Keywords

phone wiretaps, organized crime, data challenges, police-recorded events, double boundary-specification problem, sampling

Journal Title

SOCIAL NETWORKS

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

0378-8733
1879-2111

Volume Title

Publisher

Elsevier BV
Sponsorship
Leverhulme Trust (RPG-2018-119)
Leverhulme Trust through the Research Grant RPG-2018-119