What do an illegal drug importer, a stolen car exporter, a Hells Angels member, an accountant, and an airplane hijacker have in common? Like most people, they all operate in social networks and at times, they come together in criminal networks which, though tightly structured and controlled, undergo constant change. Inside Criminal Networks takes a social network perspective to a variety of illegal enterprises, focusing on these organizations 'flexible order' and the collective coping and adjustment strategies of offenders when key members or opportunities are lost. Rich with communication data, electronic surveillance material, and other law-enforcement investigative sources, case studies pursue a number of analytical paths into the partnerships, pecking orders, and situations in flux (e.g., street gang presence within drug distribution), and identify central challenges to research (e.g., are these failed networks if members are arrested?). Flexibility is revealed as a driving force as the book examines: Operational structures and dynamics - Roles of key and peripheral players - The tentative balance between efficiency and security - Criminal network positions and individual traits - Uses of legitimate actors in illegal settings - Adaptation when networks are disrupted. Compellingly written and meticulously presented, Inside Criminal Networks offers rare up-close insights to readers in the criminology and organized crime research fields, and to social network theorists and analysts.

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