Skip to main content

“Clan Crime” in Germany: Migration Politics, Socio-Economic Conditions, and Intergenerational Transmission of Criminal Behavior

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
Organized Crime in the 21st Century


In Germany, an intense political and media discussion has emerged on the phenomenon of “clan crime” (Clan-Kriminalität). In the course of the debate, “Arab clans” have often been accused of establishing criminal networks based on kinship and family ties. Despite the public debate, however, there has been a very little empirical research on the topic and virtually no attempt to understand it on a scientific basis by examining its socio-historical and cultural contexts. In this chapter, I demonstrate the roles of migration politics, socio-economic conditions, and kinship dynamics in shaping the structure and character of “clan crimes” in Germany. I argue that when a crime is committed by the member of a clan, it usually takes place either within that person’s nuclear family or independently of it and not at a clan level. Despite a widespread belief to the contrary, in my fieldwork, I found no evidence of clans either organizing or supporting organized criminal activity.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

USD 16.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 16.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. 1.

    This work was supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under the reference Fkz, 13N15302.

  2. 2.

    Currently there is an attempt by the German Police University on providing a uniform nationwide definition of clan crime: see Accessed 14 April 2022.

  3. 3.

    See Accessed 14 April 2022.

  4. 4.

    See, for example, Accessed 25 April 2022.

  5. 5.

    See!5755101/. Accessed 25 April 2022.

  6. 6.

    In some cases, the term is also used to describe extended families from the Balkans and Caucasus.

  7. 7.

    Essen, a city in NRW, is considered to be a stronghold of “clan crime” in Germany.

  8. 8.

    The debate on clan crime in the schools requires in-depth studies to understand the topic from different perspectives. From the other side of the story, it seems that pupils use their family reputation to take advantage or intimidate. For example, a school teacher in the city of Essen told me that some “clan pupils” use the reputation of their families in order to blackmail or make trouble for other pupils at the school (Interview, Essen, October 2021).

  9. 9.

    It was not possible for me to verify such cases of discrimination. However, representative study conducted by the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency in 2017 found that people from immigrant families are particularly affected by discrimination. According to the study, every second respondent with an immigrant background has experienced discrimination in the last two years (Beigang et al., 2017: 109).

  10. 10.

    All names and personal details mentioned in this study are anonymized to assure the interviewees’ privacy.

  11. 11.

    Further discussion and ethnographic evidence would go beyond the aim of this chapter. However, this topic will be dealt in depth in my chapter on “Patterns of Legality and Legitimation of Culturally Modeled Conflict Resolution among [Mhallami] in Germany,” Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, as part of the project Conflict Regulation in Germany’s Plural Society. See Accessed 14 April 2022.

  12. 12.

    On the persecution of minorities by the Turkish state during this period, see Üngör (2012).


Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mahmoud Jaraba .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2023 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Jaraba, M. (2023). “Clan Crime” in Germany: Migration Politics, Socio-Economic Conditions, and Intergenerational Transmission of Criminal Behavior. In: Nelen, H., Siegel, D. (eds) Organized Crime in the 21st Century. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-031-21575-9

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-031-21576-6

  • eBook Packages: Law and CriminologyLaw and Criminology (R0)

Publish with us

Policies and ethics