This book examines a range of criminal activities conducted in different European contexts. Offences committed by individuals and groups endowed with different resources and status are examined. Each chapter contains an implicit rejection of generalizations and attention is paid to variations
and differences. Rather than searching for a unified theory of crime, the author highlights the interpretive oscillations, which always occur when we are faced with criminal behaviour. In other words, each time we subscribe to one cause of crime we may realize that also the opposite cause possesses
some reasonable validity. The originality of this book consists of the `causality of contraries' running through the chapters, whereby a tentative aetiology identified in one context finds its complete overturning in anther. The author regards the `causality of contraries' as a crucial aspect of the
anti-criminological tradition to which he claims affiliation. These `essays in anti-criminology' deal with crimes of both the powerless and the powerful, and seek to demonstrate that both the deficiency and the abundance of legitimate opportunities may lead to crime.
In the first part of the book a conventional criminal activity par excellence is examined, namely activity related to the economy of illicit drugs. In this economy the author notes a shift from a Fordist to a Toyota model of criminal activity, a shift determined by the expansion of demand and the
growing variety of supply of illicit drugs. The second part of the book addresses specific cases of elite criminality, including illicit trafficking in arms and human beings. The chapters devoted to the analysis of political and administrative corruption in Italy, France, and Britain provide yet
other examples of how illegal practices may be imputed to one cause in one context and its opposite in another. Two Intermezzos complete the book, posing more general questions, respectively, around the very concept of illicit `drugs' and the evasive character of illicit economic behaviour.