The usual suspects: Media representation of ethnicity in organised crime

Adrian Leiva, David Bright

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    In the last century, the phenomenon of organised crime has become inextricably linked with ethnicity; which has been accentuated by the popularity of ‘Mafia’ films and cultural events. However, research surrounding the link between ‘ethnicity’ and organised crime, especially the media’s depiction of this relationship, is severely limited. Utilising a thematic analysis, 1705 articles were examined from the two major newspapers in Sydney (The Daily Telegraph and The Sydney Morning Herald) and Melbourne (The Age and The Sun Herald) between 2000 and 2010. The major themes drawn from the sampled articles were compared with the scholarly literature and published government reports. Of the sampled articles, only 11% (or 183 articles) mention the involvement of an ‘ethnic’ group in organised criminal behaviour. The findings from the study suggest that although the sampled newspapers do not perpetuate the stereotypes associated with the ‘Mafia myth’ (i.e., the idea of ‘ethnically’ based criminal organisations), elements of the myth could still be found in the sampled articles.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)311-325
    Number of pages15
    JournalTrends in Organized Crime
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


    • Ethnicity
    • Mafia
    • Media
    • Organised crime


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