Transnational dimension of criminal selectivity within 1870-1945

Research Project

Herbert Booker, War On the White Slave Trade or Fighting the Traffic in Young Girls (1910)

The theoretical framework that structures the research project 'Transnational Criminal Law in Transatlantic Perspective (1870-1945): Towards a dialogue between the Global North and the Global South' aims to overcome the current gaps in this area of research by unearthing the historical background of the transnational crimes and transnational criminal law regimes. This involves coming up with definitions of the key conceptions and clarifying how the historical links between European and Latin-American legal frameworks operate in terms of crime and criminal law/justice/punishment. To broaden the theoretical and methodological foundations, this particular research project investigates the role of criminal selectivity in the development of the transnational criminal regimes during the period of study (1870-1945).

Specifically, the research deals with how the mechanisms of over-criminalisation of specific behaviours (mainly political crimes and social deviance) and under-criminalisation of others (mainly war and economic crimes) were shaped at the transnational level during the historical period in question. This approach includes the study of transnational norms; transboundary activities criminalised in at least one of the involved states; transnational circulation of norms and practices; informal and formal transnational cooperation networks at the law enforcement, judicial, and governmental levels; and discourses and knowledge exchange in international conferences and associations. When taken together, they form a selective transnational criminal regime or some sort of biased transnational criminal global governance.

A great deal of attention is paid to the historical role/function of the Global South in trying to understand the historical background of current power imbalances between Latin American and European countries. The core transnational crimes to be studied are slave trade, trafficking (humans and drugs), smuggling, piracy, political crime (anarchism, terrorism, assassination, revolt/overthrow and protest), and illegal migration.

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