Predatory Societies - Offending and Victimization in the Consumer Society

Susanne Karstedt, Keele University
Stephen Farrall, University of Keele

ABSTRACT
This paper explores the 'moral economy' of contemporary consumer societies. The recent wave of business scandals has raised urgent demands for a 'new morality' for the economy. However, it is not only the leading figures, but citizens in their daily lives who engage in shady and unfair or illegal and illegitimate market practices. The paper will analyse the victimization of consumers via fraud and unfair practices, as well as their own involvement as offenders in such practices (including government services). It will in particular examine how the normative framework of the market place and consumption and the (im)moral economy impact on wider notions of citizenship, and on levels of trust and confidence in markets, civil society and democracy.

The paper analyzes survey data from England and Wales and Germany (West and East), and will present national and comparative models of the relationship between offending, victimization, 'moral economy attitudes' and their impact ont trust in the market place. These analyses seek in particular to contribute to the conceptual framework of institutional anomie theory.

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Updated 05/20/2006