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Abstract

This paper reviews the scholarly literature that connects transnational crime and policing through a critical discussion of the terms used to describe them. It is argued that authorized discourses regarding transnational crime are selective and partial. Ultimately, this results in two sorts of failures in contemporary transnational policing. It is a positive failure insofar as the ramping up of policing power in response to a global crime panic has come at the expense of civil liberties and human rights. It is a negative failure insofar as the transnational policing capacity that has been developed is unable to respond to the very real criminological consequences that are part of the downside of globalization. The surveillant assemblage of the emerging global policing security complex is an awesome and unaccountable power legitimitated on the basis of specified folkdevils. However, and despite well-publicized claims to success, due to its own internal organizational pathologies and institutional fragmentation, the policing security complex is capricious. The article concludes by arguing that critical the examination of the concepts that constitute transnational crime and policing is a crucial contribution to theories of global governance.