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Glamorization and De-stigmatization of White-Collar Crime

Abdul Razzaq Ahmed
With the coining of the word white-collar crime in 1947, Sutherland forced the scholars and
crime theorists to refocus their attention on explaining deviance by a wide range of upper class
offenders other than those belonging to traditional juveniles and low classes of society. This turn
in etiological perspective of criminal behaviour fostered a paradigm shift among the scholars to
rethink causes of criminal behaviour. A variety of theories were thus applied to explain deviance
by upper class offenders. This study tests white-collar criminality among individuals in
occupational, professional and corporate field testing empirical data within a theoretical frame of
a set of theories. These theories have predictive capacity to explain white-collar criminality from
varying causative perspectives. These theories include Anomie theory (Durkheim, 1960), theory
of differential association (Sutherland & Cressey, 1978), theory of motivation and opportunity
(Coleman, 1989) and theory of rational choice. In addition modeling theory (Bandora & Rotter,
1992) and theory of basic needs (Maslow, 1987) have also been included to test the data
pertaining to diverse range of population with a wide perspective. The authors of these theories
assert that their theories explain the deviant behaviour with all perspectives. However, their
assertions run short of substance to deal with complexity of human deviance. A combination of
theories was hence used to explain the white-collar criminality through this descriptive research
work. The research work being pioneer on white-collar crime attempts to explain causes of
deviant behaviour among individuals pursuing legitimate occupational activity and having
socially approved position in society. It also seeks to explain causes of de-stigmatization or
desensitization among the offenders and the society that tend to tolerate such deviant behaviour.
In addition to testing the given theories, the research work also seeks to contribute to
criminological literature by explaining white-collar criminality considering power dynamics of
deviant behaviour. It tends to conclude that white-collar criminality is caused due to a power lag
between the offender and the victim. The power comes from variety of sources connected with
the position of individuals within given social settings and may change with changing social
circumstances. The power is essentially the ability of an individual to influence things to his