Crimes of the powerful in Latin America and the Caribbean: Toward a research agenda

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The scholarship on crimes of the powerful encompasses a critical examination of social harms, and crimes perpetrated by privately or publicly operated businesses and corporations, the state, international organizations, elites, as well as the state-mediated administrative and political responses to these crimes. Going beyond state-centric definitions of crime and deviance, this scholarship emphasizes studying power and the harmful and criminogenic operations of the neoliberal-capitalism. However, this scholarship has overlooked the systemic examination of these crimes in the Global South, Latin America and the Caribbean, and their impact on racialized, gendered, and other marginalized communities. This article aims to contribute to this scholarship by providing an overview of the current developments in the scholarship on crimes of the powerful and proposing some future research areas for Latin America and the Caribbean. Thus, the article aims to demonstrate that the Latin American and Caribbean experiences with crimes of the powerful can expand our understanding of the social harms generated by powerful organizations and actors and magnify the analytical and methodological reach of this critical scholarship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13172
JournalSociology Compass
Issue number2
Early online dateNov 20 2023
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • colonialism and empire
  • global south
  • organized crime
  • social control
  • social harm
  • sociology of crime

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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