Corrupt Capital : Alcohol, Nightlife, and Crimes of the Powerful book cover
1st Edition

Corrupt Capital
Alcohol, Nightlife, and Crimes of the Powerful

ISBN 9780367554798
Published April 29, 2022 by Routledge
172 Pages

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Book Description

This book offers a deep dive into the social, political, and economic forces that make white-collar crime and corruption a staple feature of the nightlife economy. The author, a former bouncer-turned-bartender of party bars and nightclubs in a large U.S. city, draws from an auto-ethnographic case study to describe and explain the routine and embedded nature of corruption and deviance among the regulators and the regulated in the nightlife environment.

This text offers a contemporary and incisive theoretical framework on the criminogenic features and structural contradictions of capitalism. The author both describes and explains how the dominant political economy is rife with structural contradictions that, in turn, generate various manifestations of white-collar crime, organizational deviance, and public corruption. The author uses the bar and nightlife environment to empirically anchor these claims. Methodologically, the research is innovative in advancing inquiry into ethically and logistically challenging environments. The style of writing and framing of the text is one that punches upward and avoids the voyeuristic and reductionist tropes historically associated with "dangerous fieldwork."

Through a range of disciplinary perspectives, Corrupt Capital offers both scholarly rigor and inviting prose to advance our understanding of crimes of the relatively powerful and powerless alike. An accessible and compelling text, this book will appeal to readers in criminology, sociology, law and society, political science, and all those interested in learning about the relationship between power, law, and routinized corruption in the nightlife economy.

Table of Contents

1. Alcohol, Nightlife, and Crimes of the Powerful  2. Science, Politics, and Imperial Criminology  3. White-Collar Crime and Corruption: Back to Basics  4. Getting Behind the Bar ... and Staying There – On Studying the Nightlife Economy  5. Metropolis East Money Games  6. Corrupt Capital


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Kenneth Sebastian León is an Assistant Professor of Latino and Caribbean Studies and a faculty affiliate of the Criminal Justice Program at Rutgers University – New Brunswick. He specializes in crimes of the powerful, empirically studying how criminal justice policies contribute to racial capitalist harms and state-corporate crime. Previously, León was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at George Washington University (GWU) and a contracted researcher of transnational organized crime at the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs – National Institute of Justice (2016–2017). León serves as the Managing Editor for the Journal of White Collar and Corporate Crime, a peer-reviewed publication affiliated with the American Society of Criminology.