Unmasking the Crimes of the Powerful:
Edited by Steve Tombs and Dave Whyte (Peter Lang, £23.77)
but nevertheless tight-knit collection of articles grouped under the heading
of state and corporate crime. This is a tricky subject, since it is states
that positively ‘make’ the laws and prosecute the ‘criminals’,
following their dedication to economic growth and profit-making.
Therefore, a problem is created regarding power and its relation to knowledge.
Tombs and Whyte show that political economy is probably the best tool
in such a trade-off. In particular, they advocate a Marxist approach as
most effective, in the tradition of Antonio Gramsci.
Contributors provide excellent work on outrageous - but apparently prevalent
- instances of corporate and/or state behaviours across a wide variety
of areas: prisoner abuse, censorship in policy research and support for
repressive regimes, to name just a few. Roy Coleman’s CCTV Surveillance,
Power, and Social Order examines the extensive dumping of Big Brother
technology on Liverpool.
Although sometimes technical, this book is still readable and has something
to offer lay readers and activists as well as researchers. For those willing
to tough it out there is a firm grounding and a solid case for the value
of research in exposing what in human (if not legal) terms is criminal
behaviour by the governing classes.