On Criminal Strategy by Dr James Cockayne

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Manor Road Oxford OX1 3UQ

A light sandwich lunch is provided for seminar participants at 12:50.

Do criminal groups use ‘strategy’? Are crime wars really wars? These are the questions explored in Dr James Cockayne’s new book, Hidden Power: The Strategic Logic of Organized Crime (Hurst, 2016). In a study that Sir Lawrence Freedman (King’s College London) and Mark Shaw (Global Initiative on Transnational Organized Crime) both hail as a ‘landmark’, and Prof John Ruggie (Harvard Kennedy School) describes as an ‘analytical tour de force’, Cockayne reveals criminal groups using force and other means to determine political outcomes to suit their own agendas - and competing with states in a common ‘market for government'. The book explores how groups pursuing criminal strategies affect this market for government – by influencing elections, changing constitutions, fomenting terrorism, waging war, and negotiating peace deals. Cockayne not only reveals criminal agendas at play in pivotal historical moments such as the Second World War, the Bay of Pigs invasion, and the Cuban Missile Crisis, but also offers a framework for understanding the strategic calculations and impact of contemporary criminal groups from Mexico to Mali. 

Dr. James Cockayne is the Head of Office at the UN for United Nations University (UNU), a global thinktank created by the UN General Assembly. He is Vice-Chair of the International Legal Foundation and has been Chair of the Editorial Committee of the Journal of International Criminal Justice. Previously a Senior Fellow at the International Peace Institute, he was Co-Director of the Center on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation, Principal Legal Officer in the Transnational Crime and Extradition Units of the Australian Attorney-General’s Department, and worked in war crimes tribunals in Africa. He has been a visiting lecturer at Columbia University, a Hauser scholar at New York University School of Law, and was a University Medalist in government and public administration at the University of Sydney. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of War Studies at King’s College London.