Illegal Markets: A Theoretical and Historical Interpretation

Öffentlicher Vortrag / Public Lecture

As economic sociologists now recognize, illegal markets are of theoretical as well as economic, social, and political importance. Economic and social historians are well placed to contribute to this burgeoning field. While studying the emergence, proliferation, and decay of illegal markets comes naturally to them, most historians have yet to recognize their significance. In his lecture, Mark Roodhouse shares theoretical insights into these topics drawn from his current project on illegal markets in mid-twentieth-century London and a previous study of black marketeering in 1940s Britain. Case studies from London of commercial gambling, commercial sex, and intoxicants reveal something of the conditions in which illegal markets emerge, spread, and disappear. Together, these examples highlight the critical importance of social norms in understanding the changing legal status of market transactions and, sometimes, entire markets.

Mark Roodhouse is Reader in Modern History at the University of York and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He is an economic and social historian who is working on his second book about organized crime in twentieth-century London. Oxford University Press published his first book Black Market Britain, 1939−1955 in 2013.

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