Symbolic survival and harm: serious fraud and consumer capitalism’s perversion of the causa sui project

Based on empirical research carried out with those convicted of serious fraud, the current article explores the motivations behind engagement in acquisitive criminality. Drawing on the work of Ernest Becker, the article seeks to transcend superficial explanations of fraud which draw on notions of gr...

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Published in:The British journal of criminology
Main Author: Tudor, Kate (Author)
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
Published: 2019
In:The British journal of criminology
Year: 2019, Volume: 59, Issue: 5, Pages: 1237-1257
Online Access: Volltext (Verlag)
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Summary:Based on empirical research carried out with those convicted of serious fraud, the current article explores the motivations behind engagement in acquisitive criminality. Drawing on the work of Ernest Becker, the article seeks to transcend superficial explanations of fraud which draw on notions of greed and individual pathology, locating causation instead at the level of consumer capitalism’s perversion of the contemporary causa sui project through its stimulation of deep human existential anxieties. It will be suggested that the acts of economic predation perpetrated by the men in the study represent attempts to escape anxiety through the avoidance of symbolic annihilation and that they are illustrative of the way in which the contemporary capitalism generates harm.
ISSN:1464-3529
DOI:10.1093/bjc/azz009