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Critically discuss the practical and ethical difficulties involved when researching White Collar Crime. Give examples of research studies in this field in order to substantiate your arguments.

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SOCIAL POLICY BA White Collar Crime Student Number- 328853. Critically discuss the practical and ethical difficulties involved when researching White Collar Crime. Give examples of research studies in this field in order to substantiate your arguments. INTRODUCTION The increase in capitalism, multi national corporations, advanced information technology communications and globalisation has caused the increase of a type of crime which has previously not been recognised, 'white collar crime'. This is also referred to within text as corporate crime, invisible crime, white collar deviance etc. The beginning of the paper will begin by looking at what white collar crime in both definitive and historical context and later go on to look at the many practical and ethical difficulties that are involved when researching White Collar Crime. WHAT IS WHITE COLLAR CRIME White Collar crime has the potential to affect everybody. It is not categorised in the same criminological groups as activities such as street crime and sexual violence; although it can be just as if not more destructive, but its activities are still subject of criminal law. White collar crime is very limited in research due to under recognition of the subject. White collar crime is very much a specialist area which is argued to cause marginalisation of the subject area in relation to other criminological studies. This can be seen in the way in which White collar crime has been put on the back burner throughout political and social debate i.e. in the news, newspapers, political manifesto's etc. Croall (1997) states that criminological discussions are very much centred on issues that are perceived as being more closely linked directly to everyday citizen life i.e. theft, rape, burglary etc. White collar crime is therefore much less likely to be in the forefront of prioritised criminological political debate. HISTORY According to Croall (1997) it is only recently that the term white collar crime has been seriously acknowledged. ...read more.


In the long run if there was proof that white collar crime was as big a problem as many criminologists would argue, then the government may invest more money in to cracking down on white collar crime and the business's would be more at risk of getting caught. The American National White Collar Crime Centre (N.W.C.C.C) carried out a house hold survey in 1999 and found that 36% of households claimed to be victims of some form of white collar crime in the previous year. The results of this are significantly high showing clear cause for concern especially as already stated many victims don't know when they have been victimised indicating that the statistic should be much higher. It raises the question as to why street crime is feared so much more in comparison. Generally it would seem that the services that deal with white collar crime and its specifics are also very hard to access information through and often lack very little specific detail surrounding judicial processes and outcomes. Croall (1997) claims that as a result of the further recognition of white collar crime certain victim groups have been set up. Victim based research does provide important information to the researcher but can often be considered as bias and only gives one side of the story. It gives limited information surrounding the specific's of the white collar crime committed. Croall (1997) states, an example of this can be found in the use of official statistics in research. Due to the complexity and invisibility of white collar crime there are alternative agencies to the police that deal with this particular area, Official crime statistics are there for not inclusive of white collar crime offences. Official crime statistics according to Davies et al (1999) are a highly valued secondary research source for criminological research. It is very important for white collar crime to become more predominant in official statistics because the categories of people and crime used in the stats represents what is prioritised as problem areas and therefore affects policy making and theoretical approaches to problem solving. ...read more.


Both primary and secondary research methodologies have been investigated. It would seem that although secondary research based strategies are never the most effective methodology when looking at validity and reliability, ethical and practical research problems surrounding white collar crime often lead criminologists to study secondary research. Although there would seem to be an immense amount of difficulty when looking at the ethical and practical problems of researching white collar crime, it could be argued that in today's advanced society, the increasing intellect and understanding in the potential of advanced technologies and communications would be enough to enable a sufficient and more progressive stand against white collar crime then the present situation. The lack of effective research can therefore be blamed on the general lack of subject interest or understanding. One must hold knowledge and have access to resources to enable the preliminary ball to start rolling. Public awareness, ignorance and funding, all need to be approached to enable a more, innovative and creative approach towards researching the corporate offender. REFERENCE LIST Croall, H. (1997) Understanding white collar crime: Crime and Justice. Buckingham, Open University Press. O'Keefe, J. (1996) Law of Weights and Measures. London, Butterworth. Sutherland, E. (1949) White collar crime. New York: Holt, Reinhart & Winston. Weisburd, D., & Schlegel, K. (1992) Returning to the mainstream: reflections on past and future white collar crime study in Schlegel, K+ Weisburd, D (eds) White Collar Crime reconsidered. Boston, MA: Northerastern University Press. Shapiro, S (1990) Collaring the crime, not the criminal: re-considering the concept of White Collar crime, American Sociological Review, 55:346-65. Slapper, G., & Tombs, S. (1999) Corporate Crime. London, Longman. Davies, P., Jupp, V. & Francis, P. (1999) (eds) Invisible Crimes: their victims and their regulation. London: Palgrave-Macmillan. Coleman, J.W. (2001) (eds) The Criminal Elite: Understanding White Collar Crime. New York, Worth Publishers. National White Collar Crime Centre, The National Survey on White Collar Crime (2000) Morgantown, WV: National White Collar Crime Centre. www.bhopal.com/review.htm (23/12/04) Bhopal: Incident Review Slapper, S., & Tombs, S. (1999) Corporate Crime. London: Longman. Sutherland, E. (1983) White Collar Crime: The uncut version. New Haven: Yale, University Press. ...read more.

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