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Shifting the stuff wasnt any bother”: Illicit enterprise, tobacco bootlegging and deconstructing the British government’s cigarette smuggling discourse

Abstract

This paper presents the results of interactions/interviews with an active tobacco bootlegger regarding his illicit entrepreneurial activity spanning his illegal career. This narrative is intended to portray a snapshot of a type of organised criminality within an illicit market place but seeks to add to the critical academic literature responding to State-led depictions of organised crime as an apocalyptic menace. The results of the fieldwork suggest that illicit market enterprise in this context is neither threatening nor predatory, is very ordinary and, crucially, is driven by insatiable consumer demand within local trading networks.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The term ‘runner’ is intended to refer to an individual tasked with taking part in the smuggling run and buying his/her legal limit of tobacco (intended for personal use) in order to maximise the amount of cigarettes which may then be sold upon the individual’s return to the UK. See Von Lampe (2002) for further details.

  2. 2.

    ‘Nowt’, considered to be a colloquial term derived from the North East of England, is taken to mean ‘nothing’.

  3. 3.

    ‘Crack’, sometimes written as ‘craic’, is a colloquial term meaning news, fun, gossip or entertaining conversation.

  4. 4.

    The term ‘guvvy’ job in this context is intended to mean undertaking undeclared work on a cash-in-hand basis.

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Correspondence to Xavier Duncan L’Hoiry.

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L’Hoiry, X.D. “Shifting the stuff wasnt any bother”: Illicit enterprise, tobacco bootlegging and deconstructing the British government’s cigarette smuggling discourse. Trends Organ Crim 16, 413–434 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12117-013-9188-2

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Keywords

  • Organised crime
  • Illicit/illegal entrepreneur
  • Illicit enterprise
  • Tobacco smuggling
  • Cigarette bootlegging