Canada Dry wiseguys at Apalachin: Politics and the social construction of a crime problem

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Abstract

This essay contrasts what little has become known about the Apalachin meeting with the myth of organized crime in America emerging in its aftermath. Constructing a myth about crime essentially involves the manipulation of information. One of the fundamental techniques utilized in constructing the Mafia myth, drawn in part from events at Apalachin, was the creation of criminal stereotypes. Public officials and especially the media played up the image of the Italian wiseguy. Transforming the opinions of "experts" into incontrovertible facts was another common technique used by both the media and government officials. Most prominent in the Apalachin myth construction was the use of undocumented sources of authority. Among the various bodies investigating Apalachin, the McClellan Committee was especially guilty of masking its own preconceived opinions through the use of supposedly independent police sources. Yet a review of the hearing transcripts clearly demonstrates that Committee witnesses and investigators were called to confirm an already favored viewpoint.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-38
Number of pages23
JournalTrends in Organized Crime
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2007

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Law

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