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Tijdschrift Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit x Jaar 2012 x
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Stilzwijgen onder toezichthouders

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit, Aflevering 2 2012
Trefwoorden secrecy, denial, silence, monitoring
Auteurs Henk van de Bunt
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article examines the silence of control agents. It is often said that control agents as representatives of the risk society are obsessed with control activities and fact-finding, and that rule breakers are regularly exposed by negative publicity. The author takes the contrary position that even major cases demonstrate the persistence of silence on the part of control agents. He distinguishes between two types of silence: denial and secrecy. Denial means that control agents saw nothing while they could have discovered wrongdoing. He points to the fact that this denial in the face of knowledge is the result of sociological ambivalence: control agents are often forced to reconcile conflicting interests, which supersede the importance of supervision. The article shows that secrecy plays an important role in trust relationships between control agents and the objects of their supervision. Secrecy enables control agents to better obtain information. In effect, with regard to the supply of information and the scrutiny of the objects under supervision, control agents are dependent on the cooperativeness of the objects of supervision. These days, much emphasis is placed on breaking the walls of silence. Perpetrators, victims and witnesses, as well as control agents, are being encouraged to break the silence through the use of star witness arrangements, whistleblower arrangements, witness protection, and reporting centres. But is this effective? The author suggests that maintaining secrecy is essential and that those measures limit the space for control agents to develop trust relationships with the objects of supervision, and thereby the opportunity to engage in fact-finding.


Henk van de Bunt
Prof. dr. Henk van de Bunt is hoogleraar criminologie aan de Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam. E-mail:vandebunt@law.eur.nl
Redactioneel

De sociale rol van het geheim: inleiding

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit, Aflevering 2 2012
Trefwoorden disclosure, research of secrecy, cultural criminology, meaning
Auteurs Dina Siegel
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In cultural criminology, we talk about crimes as secrets and secrets as crimes. There is a close relationship between criminality and secrecy. The unravelling of secrets can help us discover the meaning criminals attach to their actions and contacts. Secrets have always been a topical issue, as they are strongly embedded in our social world. Secrecy used to be functional in times of war and under dictatorships as a symbol of political and/or religious protest. Today, however, secrecy is most often associated with illegality and criminality. It is not easy to study secrets and secrecy, and for this reason criminological research requires specific, mainly ethnographic, research methods.


Dina Siegel
Prof. dr. Dina Siegel is hoogleraar criminologie aan het Willem Pompe Instituut voor Strafrechtswetenschappen, Universiteit Utrecht. E-mail: d.siegel@uu.nl
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