Non-state Actors and Global Crime Governance: Explaining the Variance of Public-private Interaction

Anja Jakobi

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This article:
Shows the variance of non-state actors in global crime governance and transnational governance in general, and shows that existent accounts fail to explain this variance.
Proposes a model of how we can understand the different roles of non-state actors, distinguishing normative from rationalist reasons for non-state actor involvement.
Compares different forms of current global crime governance (human trafficking, conflict diamonds, money laundering, cybercrime) to explore the validity of the model.
Shows that non-state activism and public debate are usually only related to a specific type of crime, turning a ‘blind eye’ to other forms of crime and their governance.
Argues that this creates problems with regard to oversight and discussion of global crime governance, exemplified with regard to intelligence surveillance via internet traffic.
Global crime governance has become a major area of international activity, including a growing number of public and private regulatory efforts. Yet it is puzzling that a considerable variance exists in how state and non-state actors interact: non-state actors have been important agenda-setters in some issue areas, while they have been absent in others. Sometimes they are implementation bodies, sometimes they set regulations themselves. I argue that this variance is caused by issue characteristics: If an issue area is framed in a highly moralised way, it is likely that resulting non-governmental activity can be explained by normative convictions, and in particular advocacy occurs frequently. If an issue area is framed in a technical way, resource exchange is central, and delegation to non-state actors becomes more prominent. A comparison of human trafficking, conflict diamonds, money laundering and cybercrime shows that this relation can be found on the global and national level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-89
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Politics and International Relations
Issue number1
Early online date28 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016

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