chapter  3
14 Pages

Transnational organized crime between myth and reality: The social construction of a threat

In one of his most famous speeches on the changing nature of the threats to peace and security faced by the world today, the Secretaiy-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, indicated the gulf which exists between what he called ‘civil’ and ‘uncivil’ society, one of the new vulnerabilities of the contemporary world (Annan 1998; 2000a; 2000b). According to the words he repeatedly pronounced during numerous conferences, global summits and sessions of the General Assembly, he explained the meaning of these terms and the context within which they should be considered:

By civil, I mean civilization: the accumulated centuries of learning that form our foundation for progress. By civil, I also mean tolerance: the pluralism and respect with which we accept and draw strength from the world’s diverse peoples. And finally, I mean civil society: the citizens’ groups, businesses, unions, professors, journalists, political parties and others who have an essential role to play in the running of any society.