Crime, Law and Social Change

, Volume 72, Issue 4, pp 445–465 | Cite as

Regulating white-collar crime in Ireland: an analysis using the lens of governmentality

  • Joe McGrathEmail author


A new way of governing corporate wrongdoing has emerged to address Ireland’s changed social, political and economic context. Traditional methods of laying blame, forged in the agrarian Irish State, are no longer capable of dealing with the contemporary challenges of an advanced industrial economy which is more willing to recognise the risks posed by increased corporate activity. The conventional crime monopoly became fragmented as specialist regulatory enforcement agencies were established to enforce the law. Moreover, contemporary enforcement became much more sophisticated, moving away from the “command and control” model to a “responsive” model of enforcement. Also, paradoxically, this model is explicitly cooperative and employs sanctions as a last resort but, also can actually be more instrumental and punitive in addressing corporate wrongdoing. More recently, however, since the financial crisis, the architecture seems to have shifted again. Corporate and financial crimes become politicised and new laws were passed to make it easier to hold wrongdoers to account. In addition to resolving problems in enforcing the law, they also had ostentatiously political purposes. They reflect the political desire to “tool up” executive power and “act out” for public approval, to “govern through” white-collar crime.



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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sutherland School of LawUniversity College DublinDublinIreland

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