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Neds, CrimeLords, Businessmen- Gangsters, and Entrepreneurs: Exploring cultural (mis)representations of Scottish Criminals in contemporary criminal biographies.

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Presentation on theme: "Neds, CrimeLords, Businessmen- Gangsters, and Entrepreneurs: Exploring cultural (mis)representations of Scottish Criminals in contemporary criminal biographies."— Presentation transcript:

1 Neds, CrimeLords, Businessmen- Gangsters, and Entrepreneurs: Exploring cultural (mis)representations of Scottish Criminals in contemporary criminal biographies Dr Robert Smith Reader in Entrepreneurship RGUr.smith-a@rgu.ac.uk

2 Orientating the Research ► This is an atypical study which arose from a call for papers for the conference and was not purposefully designed to gather and dispassionately and scientifically analyse data in a traditional scientific manner. Instead the call triggered an immediate response to author an abstract. ► It is based on past and present readings of biographies and novels of Scottish Crime and Enterprise. ► Predominantly based on ‘True Crime Genre’ and therefore may be a cultural imagination. ► Criminal as entrepreneur (Smith, 2009 / 2013).

3 Cultural Representations of Criminality ► Urban ‘Clydeside’ bias. ► There are very few constructions relating to the remainder and of rural Scotland (Croall et al, 2010).. ► Scottish Media Stereotypes.  Godfathers.  CrimeLords.  Businessman-gangsters.  Background Entrepreneur (Mack, 1972).  The ubiquitous ‘Ned’ (Law, 2006).  Hardmen & Hairies (Bryce-Wunder, 2003). ► Press / Media / Television / Novels / Biographies / True Crime.

4 Relevant Literature ► The study by Scottish sociologist and criminologist J. A. Mack into organised crime in the Glasgow - ‘The Able Criminal’ (Mack, 1972) posited the notion of the background or backroom operator to denote a stratum of businessmen / gangster / entrepreneur who controlled crime in the Greater Glasgow and central belt areas of Scotland. ► Donnelly & Scott (2010) – Policing Scotland. ► Croall, Mooney & Munro (2010). ► Law, Mooney and Helmes (2010).

5 Godfathers / CrimeLords ► The ‘Godfather’ aka ‘Mr Big’ stereotype:  Walter Norvall.  Arthur Thompson Senior. ► The CrimeLord stereotype:  Tam ‘The Licensee’ McGraw.  Jamie ‘The Ice-Man’ Stephenson.  Iain ‘Blink’ McDonald. ► There is scope for the two to merge.

6 Businessman-Gangster ► The Businessman-Gangster is a recognised criminal stereotype (Smith, 2003). ► Pertinent to Central Belt of Scotland. ► It is not a homogenous category and covers a wide degree of different criminal types from the traditional gangster to the white-collar criminal. ► The type is categorised visually by the adoption of myopic capitalist imagery in the form of suits, business attire and flash cars (Smith & Anderson, 2003).

7 The Entrepreneur ► Culturally, ‘The Entrepreneur’ is a shadowy figure in Scotland. ► The entrepreneur is a much under-represented figure in Scottish Culture ► However, one must consider the ‘Background- Entrepreneur’ (Mack, 1972) as a shadowy criminal ‘Mr Fixer’ type persona. ► Crucially Mack conducted his research in the Glasgow underworld.

8 The Ned ► Non Educated Delinquents? ► Chavs, Scallies, Schemies (Smith & Air, 2012). ► The typical environment of the archetypal Scottish Ned is urban. ► The setting is urban housing schemes steeped in poverty and social deprivation. ► The social construct underpins our very understanding of crime and its policing. ► Hardmen & Hairies (Bryce-Wunder, 2003).

9 Relevant Themes ► Cultural representations of Scottish Criminality are socially constructed from depictions in novels, biographies, newspaper articles and fictional television characters. ► Media representations of crime (Mawby, 2007). ► Clydesideism (McNair, 2007).

10 Methodology - unveiling ► Documentary research (Scott, 1991/2006). ► LexisNexis ► Content Analysis – to unveil themes and stories. ► Particular emphasis on passages relating to enterprise and entrepreneurship. ► Revisiting previous readings and understandings in a similar manner to engaging and reengaging with the material compiled via investigative journalistic techniques.

11 Novels ► No Mean City ► Easy Money ► Inspector Rebus Novels – Ian Rankin ► Irvine Welsh Novels on the Scottish underclass ► The Cull by Mark Frankland – is a typical as it is set in rural Dumfries-shire. ► Collectively, these novels portray a picture book vision of the Scottish criminal as either a businessman/gangster or drink and drug fuelled ned

12 Newspapers ► The newspaper industry and, in particular, investigative journalism has shaped cultural representations of Scottish criminality. ► The News of the World – The Scottish Sun and The Daily Record all have a reputation for exposing the activities of Scottish gangsters. ► Consider the role of the journalist in authoring the genre of Scottish True Crime Books. ► Consider the role of individual journalists such as Reg McKay and David Leslie.

13 Television ► Taggart – There’s been a murder. ► The Scottish Playwright Peter McDougall and his plays Just Another Saturday and Down Among the Big Boys feature neds and the businessman/gangster. ► River City – the fictional Shieldinch is home to the ned, the crimelord and the businessman/gangster but breaks with tradition in portraying strong women as entrepreneurs. ► The shady background entrepreneur is much in play

14 True Crime Books ► Jimmy Boyle – A Sense of Freedom. ► True Crime Books portray gang and knife culture. ► The Ferris/McKay writing partnership. ► David Leslie. ► Russell Findlay. ► Robert Jeffrey. ► Investigative scholaticism. ► Sub genre of memoirs of Scottish crime fighters.

15 The Developing Typology ► The Godfather. ► The CrimeLord. ► The Businessman/Gangster. ► The Background Entrepreneur. ► The Hard Man. ► The Ned. ► The Gangster’s Wife.

16 Findings / Readings ► Consideration of the subject of crime and media is not novel (Mawby, 2007). ► In Smith (2013) a study of 100 biographies of contemporary British criminals established that a common theme in many of the biographies was an attempt to portray themselves as entrepreneurs. ► This is not so overt in Scottish regional variations of criminal biographies. ► The typology is incomplete. ► Need to differentiate between the gangster as businessman and the businessman as gangster. ► Modus Operandi versus Modus Vivendi (Smith, 2009).

17 Findings / Readings (contd) ► This lack of an entrepreneur back story is culturally significant as the Scots do not venerate entrepreneurs. ► A respondent once quoted “In Greenock we have gangsters not entrepreneurs”. ► As a genre the true crime books are worthy of further study to help us understand the Scottish criminal psyche. ► Beware of the danger of reifying the gangster.

18 Conclusions ► There is a pressing need for more studies to investigate these Mis-representations or even perhaps Myth-representations of Scottish Criminality (Croall, Mooney & Munro, 2010). ► Where are the Asian businessmen/gangsters, the Chinese Triads, Yardies and the Eastern European gangsters who are carving criminal empires on Scotland’s streets? ► Where are the rural rogues? (Smith, 2004). ► Where are the biographies of Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness based gangsters?


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