Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
The Hidden History of Crime, Corruption, and States

View Table of Contents

See Related
History Journals

Email Newsletters

Sign up for our email newsletters to get customized updates on new Berghahn publications.

Click here to select your preferences

The Hidden History of Crime, Corruption, and States

Edited by Renate Bridenthal

282 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-038-2 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (November 2013)

ISBN  978-1-78533-518-1 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (June 2017)

eISBN 978-1-78238-039-9 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“… [an] excellent collection of essays, The Hidden History of Crime, Corruption, and Statesis a captivating and informative read that demonstrates the possibilities inherent in a broad approach to any subject.” · Canadian Journal of History

“The publication of this work is timely. Current news about international criminal networks and government
corruption raises questions about the historical dimensions of present-day concerns… More than chronicling such movement, however, one of this volume’s strengths lies in its efforts to cross conceptual boundaries… The contributors, representing such disciplines as history, political science, and criminology, further push boundaries between economics and politics, structure and agency, public and private, as well as between historical facts and narrative discourses that construct expedient realities… address implications for sovereignty, democracy, the control of violence, and economic inequalities." · American Historical Review


Renowned historical sociologist Charles Tilly wrote many years ago that “banditry, piracy, gangland rivalry, policing, and war-making all belong on the same continuum.” This volume pursues the idea by revealing how lawbreakers and lawmakers have related to one another on the shadowy terrains of power over wide stretches of time and space. Illicit activities and forces have been more important in state building and state maintenance than conventional histories have acknowledged. Covering vast chronological and global terrain, this book traces the contested and often overlapping boundaries between these practices in such very different polities as the pre-modern city-states of Europe, the modern nation-states of France and Japan, the imperial power of Britain in India and North America, Africa’s and Southeast Asia’s postcolonial states, and the emerging postmodern regional entity of the Mediterranean Sea. Indeed, the contemporary explosion of transnational crime raises the question of whether or not the relationship of illicit to licit practices may be mutating once more, leading to new political forms beyond the nation-state.

Renate Bridenthal is Emerita Professor of History at Brooklyn College, The City University of New York.  She has co-edited and contributed to many publications including, Becoming Visible: Women in European History (1977, 1987,1998), When Biology Became Destiny: Women in Weimar and Nazi Germany (1984), The Heimat Abroad: The Boundaries of Germanness (2005), Interactions: Transregional Perspectives on World History (2005), and Seascapes: Littoral Cultures and Transoceanic Exchanges (2007).

Subject: General History


List of Figures

Introduction: Crime and Power in History
Renate Bridenthal

Chapter 1. Dirty Politics or “Harmonie?”  Defining Corruption in Early Modern Amsterdam and Hamburg
Mary Lindemann

Chapter 2. A Crisis of Charter and Right: Piracy and Colonial Resistance in Seventeenth-Century Rhode Island
Douglas R. Burgess, Jr.

Chapter 3. The First War on Drugs: Tobacco Trafficking, Criminality, and the Fiscal State in Eighteenth-Century France
Michael Kwass

Chapter 4. Befitting Bedfellows:  Yakuza and the State in Modern Japan
Eiko Maruko Siniawer

Chapter 5. Mobilizing Convict Bodies: Indian Convict Workers in Southeast Asia in the Early Nineteenth Century
Anand Yang

Chapter 6. The Underside of Overseas Chinese Society in Southeast Asia
Carl A. Trocki

Chapter 7. A Historical Perspective on State Engagement in Informal Trade on the Uganda-Congolese Border
Kristof Titeca

Chapter 8. The Narcobourgeoisie and State Making in Colombia: More Coercion, Less Democratic Governance
Nazih Richani

Chapter 9. Russia’s Gangster Capitalism: Portent for Contemporary States?
Patricia Rawlinson

Chapter 10. Economic Crime and Neoliberal Modes of Government: The Example of the Mediterranean
Beatrice Hibou

Contributor Notes

Back to Top