Strictly Business: Critical Theory and the society of rackets

Edward Granter

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This article explores the parallels between organized crime – specifically racketeering – and the behaviour of corporate and political actors. It reviews the key literature which has developed around the concept of organized crime as business, and business as organized crime, and discusses the nature of rackets in historical and organizational context. The paper takes as its theoretical inspiration the Frankfurt School’s notion of a racket society, which Writers such as Adorno, Horkheimer and Kirchheimer developed as part of their Critical Theory of society. As such, it builds on a small but developing field of literature which applies theories of the racket society to contemporary contexts. In this case, the paper provides contemporary examples of racket like behaviour at the corporate/political nexus, and highlights the social harms associated with this.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCompetition & Change
Issue number2
Early online date6 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Critical Theory
  • rackets
  • corporate crime
  • organized crime
  • Adorno
  • Horkheimer


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