The Importance of Integrating Victimology in White-Collar Crime: A Targeted Comment on Barak's Analysis in Theft of a Nation

By Dodge, Mary | Western Criminology Review, August 2013 | Go to article overview

The Importance of Integrating Victimology in White-Collar Crime: A Targeted Comment on Barak's Analysis in Theft of a Nation


Dodge, Mary, Western Criminology Review


My first reading of Theft of a Nation was last year when Gregg Barak was awarded the 2012 outstanding publication from the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). The nomination of the book received by NW3C's Research Consortium gave high praises to the work-with good reason. Barak's important contribution reminds of us of the disturbing reality of the ongoing, often ignored, blatant financial crimes occurring at troubling rates nationally and globally. While Barak addresses the complexity of financial wrongdoing and regulation, or lack thereof, in an insightful manner, I chose to focus this commentary on his analysis of victimization. In early research, white-collar crime literature decried the vast and unknown financial, physical, and emotional harm to victims as the greatest travesty, yet with little acknowledgement of victimology. Barak and other prominent scholars, to their credit, are attempting to improve our understanding of victimization by focusing on the target of the harm beyond macro-level social constructs and vague damage estimates (see e.g., Ganzini, McFarland, and Bloom 1990; Lewis 2010; McGurrin and Friedrichs 2010; Szockyj and Fox 1996).

Barak accurately notes the difficulties of separating individualized and organizational victimization, particularly related to the Wall Street financial meltdown. The widespread nature of victimization includes all levels of society without regard to age, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or gender. In other words, white- collar crime creates a status of vulnerability for a wide and diverse group of citizens.

Barak identifies the victims of white-collar crime as the entire spectrum of the population. The characteristics of the victims of financial crime move beyond traditional views of criminal behavior and victimization associated with street-level offenses as committed primarily by and toward the disenfranchised. Barak initially focuses attention on race and poverty, variables seldom recognized in most financial cases, with the exception of environmental pollution and, in some instances, the mortgage crisis.

His application of the "weathering framework" and resulting stress, though thoughtful, creates complexities, such as social level changes, that are seemingly impossible to overcome in terms of improved programs and policies designed to assist and compensate victims of white-collar crime. The weathering framework, according to Barak, was developed to "measure the rates of aging that link social inequality, racism, and biology to socioeconomic and racial/ethnic group victimization" (p. 115). Barak argues financial fraud victims' experiences are similar to institutionalized victims; all of who face racism and gender bias. How to make sense of this approach at a policy level may puzzle the most thoughtful legislator, though as Barak notes, blaming the victim under the guise of capitalism and free markets ignores the social and cultural aspects of fraud.

The noted lack of criminal prosecution in cases of financial crime is reminiscent of the Sutherland and Tappan debate in which a major hurdle to reducing victimization and organizational misbehavior stems from the fact that such practices are more likely to be labeled as civil wrongdoings or regulatory violations, than criminal behavior. Clearly, any attempt at prosecution in cases as widespread as the Wall Street financial crisis may be viewed as folly on the part of federal prosecutors, and large monetary settlements appear to placate a small portion of the victims.

As Barak indicates, the identification of a victim should be a relatively easy task, although this is seldom the case in white-collar crimes because of the socio-legal traditions as well as political, economic, and cultural values that are enmeshed in constructing the role of the victim (p. 117). Additionally, victim rights measures already in place for traditional street crimes, rarely apply to suite crimes. The recourse, as suggested by Barak, is civil lawsuits. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Importance of Integrating Victimology in White-Collar Crime: A Targeted Comment on Barak's Analysis in Theft of a Nation
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.