Jude McCulloch



Transnational Crime as Productive Fiction

The article focuses on criminal justice and national security measures linked to transnational crime with a specific focus on counterterrorism in the context of the “war on terror.” Although transnational crime such as global terrorism is conventionally understood to trigger state responses, the article reverses this common-sense assumption. It foregrounds the “response” and suggests that the construction of a transnational crime threat has provided a productive fiction that establishes a rhetorical platform for the transformation and extension of states’ coercive capacities. These changes are manifest most intensely and profoundly in the blurring of the boundaries between national security and criminal justice, and consequently between the military and law enforcement. The article argues that transnational crime countermeasures have been successful in developing, maintaining, and extending social, political, and economic hierarchies between and within states. It explores hidden agendas and asks what or who benefits from transnational crime countermeasures.

counterterrorism, transnational crime, “war on terror,” terrorism, security

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 34, No. 2 (2007): 19-32