Bureaucratization and Social Control: Historical Foundations of International Police Cooperation

Mathieu Deflem
Google Scholar | ResearchGate | ORCID

This is a copy of a publication in Law & Society Review 34(3):739-778, 2000.
Also available in PDF format.

Please cite as: Deflem, Mathieu. 2000. “Bureaucratization and Social Control: Historical Foundations of International Police Cooperation.” Law & Society Review 34(3):739-778.

* I am grateful to Gary Marx, Fred Pampel, Kirk Williams, Jessica Kelley-Moore, Kevin Dougherty, and Richard Featherstone for their helpful comments. An earlier version was presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, Chicago, 1999. This paper draws from selected chapters of my doctoral dissertation (Deflem 1996a), from which I am currently finalizing a book manuscript. All translations are mine. Research was supported by a doctoral dissertation grant from the National Science Foundation (#SBR-9411478). Opinions and statements do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.

Ours is not a political but a cultural goal... It only concerns the fight against
the common enemy of humankind: the ordinary criminal.
— Vienna Police President Hans Schober, 1923.

They don’t know what we are doing... We do the work.
— New York City Police Commissioner Richard Enright, 1923.

A steady road leads...to the current position of the policeman
as the "representative of God on earth."
— Max Weber.


I employ a theoretical framework developed on the basis of the writings of Max Weber to analyze historical developments in the formation of international police organizations. I rely on a comparative analysis of selected cases of international police networks and centrally focus on the most famous and enduring of such structures, the International Criminal Police Commission, the forerunner of the organization since 1956 known as ‘Interpol.’ Using a Weberian perspective of bureaucratization, I maintain that the formation of international police organizations was historically made possible when public police institutions were sufficiently detached from the political centers of their respective states to function autonomously as expert bureaucracies. Under such circumstances of institutional autonomy, police bureaucracies fostered practices of collaboration across the borders of their respective national jurisdictions because and when they were motivated by a professionally defined interest in the fight against international crime. In conclusion to this analysis, I argue for the value of sociological perspectives of social control that are not reductionist, but that instead bring out the specific, socially and sociologically significant dimensions of control mechanisms.


In this article, a study in the sociology of social control, I use a theoretical model based on the work of Max Weber to account for the development of international police organizations from the middle of the 19th until the early 20th century. Although much sociological research has been devoted to the study of police (e.g., Bittner 1970; Black 1980; Marx 1988; Skolnick 1966), it remains a truism, as Jacobs and O’Brien (1998) argue, that many dimensions of police and policing remain conspicuously understudied by sociologists. It is remarkable that political sociologists have for the most part neglected to study police institutions, especially when we consider that Max Weber related his famous conception of the state explicitly to the institutionalized means of force. Recall that Weber defined the state as "that human community which within a certain territory...claims for itself (with success) a monopoly of legitimate physical coercion" (Weber 1919:506; see also Weber 1922:514-540, 566-567, 815-868). And when Weber specified the functions of the modern state, he explicitly included "the protection of personal security and public order (police)" (Weber 1922:516).

Yet, despite Weber’s reference to the institution of police, sociologists have mostly been interested in the state as the center of power over a territory, rather than in the bureaucratic apparatuses of legitimate force the state has at its disposal. I demonstrate that it makes sound sociological sense to study police as a force in and of itself, eventhough it is not unrelated to other dimensions of society.1 Specifically, I investigate dimensions of the internationalization of police, defined as that institution formally charged to lawfully execute the state’s monopoly over the means of coercion (Bittner 1970; Manning 1977:105). Hence, this analysis is not about the police (in the plural) as a force of law-enforcement officials, but about police (in the singular) as an institution sanctioned by states. Specifically, I will undertake an historical study of several international organizations of police that were formed since the middle of the 19th century. [*741]

International dimensions of police have been of growing concern in recent years (e.g., Deflem 1996a; Huggins 1998; Marx 1997; McDonald 1997; Nadelmann 1993; Sheptycki 1995). From a sociological viewpoint, the internationalization of the police function is particularly puzzling because public police agencies are central organs of national states that claim and are willing to protect at large costs their jurisdictional sovereignty. Cooperation among public police institutions at an international level, therefore, seems to be inherently paradoxical to their nation-bound function, acutely posing the question of why police nonetheless cooperate across national boundaries.

The centerpiece of my analysis is the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC), the forerunner of Interpol, which, founded in Vienna in 1923, is among the most enduring, and in this sense successful, international police organizations. The origins of the ICPC provide a useful case that can be comparatively examined in relation to other international police initiatives that for various reasons were not successful. Of these, I will discuss the Police Union of German States formed in 1851, the First Congress of International Criminal Police organized in Monaco in 1914, and the International Police Conference held in New York in 1922.

On the basis of Max Weber’s theories of bureaucracy, the central argument of my analysis is that international police organizations with broad international representation could only be formed when police institutions were sufficiently autonomous from the political centers of their respective national states to function as relatively independent bureaucracies. When this structural condition of institutional autonomy was fulfilled, I further maintain, police institutions would collaborate across the borders of their respective national jurisdictions on the basis of a shared system of knowledge concerning the development and enforcement of international crime. In the discussion, I will focus on the theoretical implications of this analysis and bring out the merits of a Weberian perspective of social control.

International Police and Bureaucratization

Weber’s theories of bureaucracy have not been very influential in the sociology of social control. Studies of police bureaucracies mostly focus on only one organization or aspect of policing (e.g., Ethington 1987; Ng-Quinn 1990; Theoharis 1992), while other studies criticize the Weberian preoccupation with formal rationality (e.g., Herbert 1998; Heyman 1995). Relatedly, studies of social control that use a bureaucracy perspective tend to emphasize the dangers involved when state agencies operate without sufficient democratic control (e.g., Benson, Rasmussen, & Sollars 1995; O’Reilly 1987; Gamson & Yuchtman 1977; Useem 1997). [*742] The relevance of these studies cannot be denied, but based on the notion that critique cannot be constitutive of analysis, I follow a different route and develop a Weberian framework to empirically uncover historical developments of police. Let me first briefly repeat the key elements of Weber’s perspective of bureaucracy.2

Bureaucracy and the State of Police

Corresponding to Weber’s suggestion that societal rationalization has gone in the direction of an increasing reliance on principles of efficiency in terms of a calculation of means (Weber 1922:514-516), Weber considered the modern state bureaucracy to be the most quintessential expression of formally rationalized societies (Weber 1922:551-579). In fact, Weber went as far as to equate bureaucracy with modern power: "domination (Herrschaft) is in everyday life primarily administration (Verwaltung)" (Weber 1922:126). As institutions in charge of implementing policies decided upon in the polity, state bureaucracies operate on the basis of an organizational design that includes that they are: subject to a principle of jurisdiction; hierarchically ordered; operating on the basis of files; separated from private households; relying on specialized training; employing a full-time staff; and guided by general rules (Weber 1922:551-554). Most critically, Weber observed, the modern bureaucracy operates on the basis of a "formalistic impersonality" oriented at employing the most efficient, and only the most efficient means, given certain goals (Weber 1922:128). Efficiency and specialization also enhance bureaucratic knowledge, including technical know-how (expertise) and information (accumulated in the exercise of official business) (Weber 1918:352-354).

Among the social consequences of bureaucratization, Weber found most significant the trend toward bureaucratic autonomy, that is, the gradual formation of a bureaucratic machinery that is relatively autonomous from political and popular control. Weber discussed the societal conditions under which bureaucracies were formed (Weber 1922:556-566), but he argued that such external influences were "not indispensable" preconditions and that they could not account for bureaucratic activity (Weber 1922:558). Instead, it was the technical superiority of the bureaucracy "without regard for the person" that Weber regarded as "the decisive factor" for the spread of bureaucracy as the most dominant form of organization (Weber 1922:562, 561). The sole regard for a purposive-rational execution in the modern bureaucracy is what Weber argued to account [*743] for the drift of bureaucracy toward independence beyond and possibly even against political control (Weber 1919:541-542).

Rationalization processes have historically influenced a bureaucratization of the modern police function across Western societies (Bayley 1985:23-52; Manning 1977:41-71).3 Notwithstanding national variations, police development has gone in the direction of the creation of a specialized bureaucratic apparatus, in both functional and organizational respects (Bayley 1985:12-14; Manning 1977:109-111; Skolnick 1966:235-239). Functionally, public police institutions have gradually come to be responsible for order maintenance and crime control, tasks for which police can legitimately resort to force. Organizationally, police bureaucratization is reflected in characteristics which closely follow Weber’s typology: police bureaucracies are hierarchically-ordered with a clear chain of command (discipline); agents are formally trained experts who, as full-time appointed officials (professionalization), perform specialized duties (division of labor); and policework follows set rules and procedures (professionalism) and is driven toward the use of technically efficient means, such as secrecy and force (purposive rationality).

Before I elaborate a bureaucratization model of international police on the basis of Weber, I wish to acknowledge that a similar perspective is founded in Michel Foucault’s theories of discipline and governmentality (Foucault 1975, 1978). These studies conceive of social control as the management of a depoliticized society of living subjects (e.g., Simon 1988; Stenson 1993). Such a Foucauldian model can usefully bring out aspects of a technology of policing and its internal dynamics, but it has also been criticized because it cannot satisfactorily deal with the ambivalent developments of law and social control in terms of justice as well as coercion (Habermas 1985:279-343) and because it neglects the embeddedness of punishment and control in a broader societal context (Lacombe 1996). Althoughthere may be debate on the validity of these criticisms against Foucault (Deflem 1997; Garland 1990, 1997), these concerns were of key significance to Weber, for his perspective took into account the external conditions that favored the bureaucratization process without neglecting its internal logic (Albrow 1970:45-49; Page 1985:162-171). Thus, although a Foucauldian perspective can surely be complementary to a Weberian analysis, the hypotheses advanced in this article take advantage of Weber’s theory to focus attention on the dynamics that work toward bureaucratic autonomy without neglecting the external contexts in which bureaucratization takes place. [*744]

A Weberian Model of International Police Cooperation

Applying Weber’s perspective of bureaucracy, I outline a two-layer model of international policing that differentiates between structural conditions and operational motives. Structural conditions ensure that national police agencies are in a position to move beyond the confines of their respective national jurisdictions. These conditions are necessary but insufficient for police agencies to engage in international cooperation. When structural conditions are met, international police organizations need an additional motivational basis to become operational. Relying on Weber, I specify the structural conditions and operational motives of international policework in terms of two aspects of bureaucratic autonomy: 1) As a structural condition for cooperation across national jurisdictions, police institutions must have gained a sufficient degree of independence as specialized bureaucracies from their respective governments; and 2) International policework can be actualized when police institutions share a system of knowledge and expertise on international crime.

My first hypothesis relates to the necessary conditions that need to be fulfilled to create a structural opportunity for international policework. Sociologist Peter Blau (1964:64-68) has specified conditions for exchange among collectivities by suggesting that interorganizational exchange can occur when organizations are interdependent in terms of tasks or objectives. Absent supranational enforcement duties, police bureaucracies cannot be interdependent in terms of a functional division of labor. However, given similarity in the institutional position of police bureaucracies across nations, formal congruence in positions can be considered a condition for interorganizational cooperation across national jurisdictions. In other words, police institutions can engage in cooperation with similarly bureaucratic police agencies from other nation-states, because of their comparable autonomy relative to the political centers of their respective states. If such autonomy is not achieved, police cooperation will remain limited in scope of international participation and cannot extend beyond the confines of politically akin states, i.e. national states that resemble one another in ideological respects and/or entertain close ties in international relations.

The introduced notion of autonomy does not imply an absolute independence or detachment of police from the state. On the contrary, public police institutions are always agents of state control and as public police institutions they can derive their legitimacy only from states. Autonomy of police, therefore, remains a matter of degree relative to the (historically variable) control from national governments. Yet, with these qualifications in mind, the conditions of police autonomy from the political [*745] powerholders of the state relate to the fact that police bureaucracies rely on a means-ends rationality to employ what are held to be the technically most efficient, not necessarily the politically most opportune means given set goals. The irony is that police institutions can then perform state-sanctioned enforcement duties in a manner that is no longer bound to the state. My fist hypothesis, then, can be stated as follows:

Hypothesis 1: The greater the extent to which national police institutions have successfully gained a position of institutional independence from their respective political centers, the greater is the chance that those institutions are in a position to engage in international cooperation.

An alternative way of formulating this hypothesis is that police institutions are in a position to cooperate internationally when they have gained bureaucratic independence from the political centers of their respective states (formal bureaucratic autonomy). Or, conversely, a lack of institutional autonomy will impede the formation of international police structures. Police institutions that remain tied to the political centers of their states will either insulate themselves from international duties to stay within the boundaries of their national jurisdictions, or will engage in transnational activities that are intimately related to national tasks. International activities under these circumstances will not go beyond unilaterally conducted policework abroad, temporary bilateral cooperation for specific duties, or limited multilateral forms among police of politically like-minded states.

Beyond favorable structural conditions, police agencies must also develop certain operational motives to form a new field of activities that transcends the borders of national jurisdictions. In this respect, I rely on Meyer and Rowan’s (1977) suggestion that the operational rules of bureaucratic organizations function as myths that define problems and specify solutions in terms framed by and for the bureaucracy. It is useful to call these cultural systems of knowledge myths, not to convey the notion that they are empirically false but that it is not primarily relevant whether they are. Together with the level of organizational efficiency, these myths influence the organization’s legitimacy, activities, and resources, while minimizing external inspection and control.4 The organizationally defined myth that motivates international police collaboration is provided by a professional conception and interest in the control of international crime. The reason police can lay claim to define, and offer solutions to, the international crime problem relates to the fact that police institutions, [*746] as Weber (1918: 352-354) argued about bureaucracies in general, can accumulate specialized knowledge, including official information about the extent of, and expertise to deal with, international crime. Such systems of knowledge have operational consequences across national jurisdictions to the extent that they are shared among national police institutions.

Hypothesis 2: The greater the extent to which national police institutions can rely on a common organizational interest in the fight against international crime, the greater is the chance that those institutions will collaborate in international policework.
Alternatively formulated this hypothesis states that international cooperation of police can be achieved when police institutions have established specialized systems of expert knowledge related to the fight against international crime (operational bureaucratic autonomy). Or, conversely, international police cooperation is unlikely to succeed —even despite favorable structural conditions— when participating agencies do not share an agenda on international crime.

In the next sections, I analyze selected cases in the history of international police cooperation on the basis of the suggested hypotheses. The centerpiece of my investigations is the International Criminal Police Commission, but I expand the case of the ICPC with cross-sectional data on three relatively unsuccessful attempts to formalize international policework from the middle of the 19th century onward to show how conditions and outcomes combined under varying historical circumstances. Since the history of international policing is relatively unknown, I first present a brief descriptive sketch of the development of international policework from the 19th century onwards.

The Internationalization of the Police Function and the Origins of Interpol (1851-1923)

The formation of the International Criminal Police Commission in 1923 is historically rooted in a long series of efforts aimed at fostering police cooperation across the jurisdictions of national states. Among the antecedents of international police cooperation are various forms of international policework throughout the 19th century, particularly in Europe, that were designed to protect established autocratic political regimes (Bayley 1975; Busch 1995:255-264; Fijnaut 1979:107-145). These international forms, indeed, primarily concerned political police activities, as the targets of such initiatives were typically the presumed opponents of conservative governments, such as anarchists, social democrats, and the growing labor movements. Most of these cooperation efforts were not formally structured in a permanent international organization but occurred on the basis of specific needs and would be terminated once those needs were met. Yet, [*747] at times steps were taken to create more organized and permanent organizational structures of international police. The Police Union of German States, formed in 1851, was such an organization, bringing together police from various German-speaking states to control political activities. Similar plans of a political nature would still be taken during the latter half of the 19th century. As late as 1898, for instance, Italian authorities organized the ‘Anti-Anarchist Conference of Rome,’ which was attended by representatives of 21 European countries, in an attempt to formally structure the international policing of the anarchist movement (Jensen 1981; Fijnaut 1979:930-933). Although a follow-up meeting was held in St. Petersburg in 1904, these efforts yielded few practical results.

In the early decades of the 20th century, the number of international police initiatives sharply increased. Most of the these plans were not successful, but the remarkable increase in attempts to structure international policework clearly manifests a more general globalization in cultural and organizational respects that took place in various institutional domains (Boli & Thomas 1997; Meyer et al. 1997). At this time, also, international police cooperation gradually de-politicized in terms of goals and became more formalized in organizational respects. The first 20th-century initiative to organize international enforcement against crimes of a non-political nature was taken at the First Congress of International Criminal Police in Monaco in 1914. Such attempts to formalize multilateral police organizations were dominated by police from Europe and rarely extended beyond the continent.

The main counterpart to European police cooperation in the early 20th century originated in Latin America, where (unsuccessful) plans to establish international police cooperation were voiced at international police conferences in Buenos Aires in 1905, in Sao Paolo in 1912, and in Buenos Aires in 1920 (Marabuto 1935:26-27). U.S. police agencies were at this time more concerned with the federalization of police in matters of inter-state commerce. In the United States no international police cooperation plans were initiated until the International Police Conference in New York in 1922. Clearly, then, when the International Criminal Police Commission was founded in Vienna in 1923, it represented the culmination of an internationalization of police that had been set in motion since at least the 19th-century consolidation of national states. Unlike many of its predecessors, moreover, the ICPC was successful in establishing an enduring structure with wide international representation, the conditions of which I analyze in the following sections. [*748]

Institutional Autonomy and the Structural Conditions of International Police Cooperation

The Police Union of German States (1851-1866) and the Failure of an International Political Police in 19th-Century Europe

My first hypothesis states that police agencies must be in a sufficiently autonomous position from the political centers of their states for there to be a structural condition under which police cooperation across national jurisdictions becomes possible beyond the confines of politically akin national states. The negative case of this hypothesis is presented by the failure of 19th-century attempts to forge police cooperation by means of a more or less permanent organization on a European-wide basis. Indeed, most international police efforts in 19th-century Europe were not of a cooperative kind; furthermore, initiated cooperative forms were limited to temporary arrangements and/or to organizations with relatively restricted participation by police of politically similar or unified national states.

In 1848, various outbursts of popular unrest across Europe aimed to overturn the dictatorial rules of autocratic governments. Established regimes responded harshly and, in consequence, also strengthened their police institutions (Fijnaut 1979:107-145; Liang 1992:18-82). This led to reforms of various national police powers, which brought about a factual harmonization of police organizations across Europe. Additionally, the revolutionary year 1848 also served as a catalyst for the internationalization of the police function, leading to an increase of international police activities with distinctly political objectives.5 These international political police activities occurred in the form of intelligence work abroad and/or by means of increased cooperation for shared purposes of political suppression (Fijnaut 1987:33-35). Covert political policework abroad was by its very nature typically unilaterally instigated without the knowledge of police or other authorities of the country where the activity took place. Unlike this trans-national policework, inter-national police cooperation involved bilateral and multilateral efforts to organize information exchange, either through establishing contacts among police officials (the so-called personal correspondence system) or through the distribution of printed information on wanted suspects (published in search bulletins). Whereas the correspondence system was initiated ad hoc by a particular police institution on the basis of a specific need for [*749] assistance (e.g., following an assassination attempt on a monarch or statesman), the system of printed bulletins represented a more permanent form of international information exchange (Deflem 1996b). For example, the Viennese police since the 1850s published a two-weekly ‘Central Police Bulletin’ (Central-Polizei-Blatt) which provided printed information on wanted suspects (Deflem 1996a:41-42). From the 1860s onward, copies of the Austrian bulletins were regularly sent to police in Prussia, and, by the 1880s, they were distributed throughout Europe (Liang 1992:32).

Among the most ambitious attempts to formalize international police cooperation in the middle of the 19th century was the Police Union of German States, which was founded in 1851 by police of Prussia, Austria, and the German territories of Sachsen, Hanover, Baden, Württemberg, and Bavaria (Deflem 1996b). The Union established various modes of direct information exchange, particularly police meetings and a system of printed magazines. Operative until 1866, the Union was conceived in opposition to individuals and organizations that were thought to threaten the stability of the established political regimes of Europe’s national states. Because some political dissenters (especially communists) were believed to be conspiring from London, Paris, and other capital cities in Europe, the Union particularly devoted efforts to enhance international cooperation among police.

However, despite various efforts to formally structure international policework throughout the 19th century, these attempts by and large failed and were operative only temporarily or on a restricted international basis. The majority of these international police operations remained unilaterally transnational (without foreign cooperation) or of a cooperative kind that was limited in functional respects (initiated for a specific purpose and terminated after it was achieved) and/or limited in international scope (bilaterally or multilaterally among police of politically akin states) (Fijnaut 1979:798-843; Liang 1992:18-19, 33-34). The widespread practice of transnational and limited cooperative policework testifies to the critical concerns over sovereignty in 19th-century Europe and the related antagonisms and fragile coalitions that marked the international relationships among states. Such socio-political conditions also influenced the fact that efforts to establish international cooperation among police on a broader multilateral basis failed.

The Police Union is in this respect no exception, for the organization remained very limited in international appeal, with a restricted membership of police from seven German-language states that were united in the German Confederation, a federal political union that existed from 1815 until 1866. The Union could not count on the support of police from France, Italy, and other European countries, even [*750] though they were often as committed to maintaining conservative rule through the policing of politics. And Union agents stationed abroad were mostly involved in secretively conducted transnational operations (Deflem 1996b:48-49). National differences in political-ideological respects combined with sovereignty concerns to make political police cooperation with broad international representation impossible. Therefore, also, it is no surprise that with the rise of Bismarck and his uncompromising foreign policy, the Police Union’s activities gradually began to decline, until the Union was finally disbanded when war broke out between Prussia and Austria (the Seven-Weeks War of 1866).

In sum, reflecting the dynamics of national and international political conditions, police institutions during the 19th century were intimately related with the quest of national autocratic governments to consolidate conservative political rule. As such, it is clear that although police agencies were institutionally separated from the military, they were closely aligned as the two central organs of state coercion (Fijnaut 1979:127-130). The relevant conclusion is that police institutions during the 19th century remained intimately linked to the political dictates of national-state governments and had not yet sufficiently developed as bureaucratic expert institutions that could claim independence from national (and international) political affairs.

The First Congress of International Criminal Police (1914) and the Rise of European Police Culture

Although 19th-century international political police operations were dominated by the dictates of national governments, they contained the origins of a bureaucratic autonomy of police that would characterize later developments of international policing beyond state control. The main reason for this peculiar development is that although political police objectives were determined by the autocratic governments of national states, police agencies were charged to arrange and execute all necessary measures independently. As a result of this autonomy granted to police at the administrative level, police officials cooperating across national borders would gradually also begin to develop a common culture that would further cement and build international relations among police institutions irrespective of the dictates of political governments. In the second half of the 19th century, strong political antagonisms and nationalist sentiments still hindered efforts to organize international police cooperation. Indicative is the failure of the participants of the anti-anarchist conferences of Rome and St. Petersburg to set up a central intelligence bureau and to have appropriate legislation enacted in the various participating countries (Jensen 1981:340). Ideological differences and political antagonism [*751] among the countries of Europe, then, not only prevented legislation being passed at the national levels, but also posed limits to international police cooperation for political purposes.

However, the various efforts that were taken in international police matters since the middle of the 19th century did lead to the gradual formation of a European police culture that by the beginning of the 20th century would have matured into a non-political system of shared values oriented at fostering cooperation across national borders. In the first instance the administrative autonomy granted to police involved the elaboration of appropriate means of policework. This elaboration involved primarily the institution of various modes of information exchange, such as the bulletin and correspondence systems. Besides transmitting information for investigative purposes, what these systems also accomplished was to establish and cement relationships among police across national jurisdictions at a personal level. In fact, as early as 1851, when von Hinckeldey invited police across Europe to form the Police Union, he already envisioned a conference of "men.... who in their difficult profession know one other as reliable and have learned to appreciate one another" (in Beck & Schmidt 1993:5). Similarly, at the anti-anarchist conference of Rome, a British representative of Scotland Yard acknowledged that the meetings were beneficial "by forming reciprocal friendships leading to greater cooperation" (in Jensen 1981:332). These professional contacts for investigative purposes were further enhanced by courtesy visits among police officials that were conducted for reasons of training and professional diplomacy (Liang 1992:151-155). During such moments of contact, the professionals of policing began to recognize one another as fellow experts of law enforcement and, in consequence, formed "a fraternity which felt it had a moral purpose, a mission, to perform for the good of society" (Fijnaut 1997:111). From then on, a shared police culture based on professional expertise in matters of the proper means of policing could be extended to also include the appropriate objectives of policing. The development of a depoliticized criminological knowledge was nurtured and found much favor in the modern institutions of police (Deflem 1997). As one important element of these new sciences of crime, there would also be expressed, time and time again from the mid-19th century onwards, the idea that international crime was on the rise as a consequence of a general modernization of social life. In 1893, the German criminologist Franz von Liszt, for instance, expressed the idea that criminals specializing in monetary crimes had begun to roam the world and that the police response against them should be internationally coordinated (Marabuto 1935:15). Under such circumstances of a developing [*752] police culture it would become possible for police authorities to independently organize international police cooperation on a multilateral basis.

With the development of a European police culture in mind, it will become clear why the First Congress of International Criminal Police (Premier Congrès de Police judiciaire internationale), held in Monaco in 1914, would fail in instituting an international police organization. Attended by some 300 magistrates, diplomats, academicians, and police officials from 24 countries, the Congress decided to establish and enhance means to improve international police cooperation, including the organization of international police communications by telegraph and telephone (Roux 1914). A next meeting was to be held in Bucharest in 1916, but the beginning of World War I prevented any practical implications of the Monaco Congress. However, despite the fact that the outbreak of World War I effectively meant the failure of the Monaco Congress, I argue that the effort could not have succeeded because the manner in which the meeting conceived of the organization of international policework did not take into account developments in police bureaucratization and instead still relied on an out-dated model of international policing inherited from the 19th century. In particular, although, as I earlier described, police experts had by the early 20th century already developed a common culture on the means and goals of professional policing, the Monaco Congress was still rooted in principles of national politics and formal systems of law. This can be seen, first of all, from the fact that the Congress was from its inception not an undertaking organized by police officials. Instead, the initiative to organize the Congress was taken by Albert I, Prince of Monaco. The meeting may have been an attempt by the Prince to enhance Monaco’s international prestige in world affairs (Bresler 1992:18-20), or it may have been inspired by the Prince’s awareness of the status of the principality as a resort for the wealthy, posing particular issues of property crimes (Walther 1968:11). But regardless of the Prince’s motives and despite the Congress’s explicit focus on criminal and not political police tasks, the plan was in any case not instigated by police bureaucrats. And despite the explicit focus of the Congress on cooperation among police, indeed, most attendants in Monaco were magistrates and government representatives, not police officials.

Furthermore, because of the over-representation of legal experts and diplomats, the discussions at the Congress took largely place within a legal framework, debating formal arrangements of international law, such as extradition procedures, and proposing police measures only in function thereof. The Congress devoted attention to international measures of police, but only as one and the least discussed of four conference themes (Roux 1914:66-198). The Congress so worked on the basis of a [753] model of formal systems of law that could only mirror the many differences that existed between the various national jurisdictions. Recognizing existing variations between national legal systems across Europe (and the world), the attendants at the Congress suggested that all participating countries were to adopt one national police system, in casu that of France, to be used in all international policework. Relatedly, the influential criminalist R.A. Reiss of the Police-Technical Institute at Lausanne suggested the creation of an international police bureau that would not only collect information about international criminals but also have at its disposal an international mobile police force. Although Reiss’s suggestion was not approved, other participants at the Congress spoke very favorably about instituting French systems of criminal identification and investigation at the international level. Eventually, the Congress decided, for example, that the Paris criminal identification service would serve as central international bureau and that French was to be used in international police communications (Roux 1914:200-201). These arrangements evidently placed the French participation in international policework center stage. Not surprisingly, the French delegates at the Congress by far outnumbered the representatives of other nations (Roux 1914:4-5). And while French-speaking delegates attended the Congress as official government representatives, the governments of other countries, including, most notably, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Great Britain, and the United States, did not send official representatives (delegates from those countries were privately present as observers and did not take part in the discussions).

The negative implications of the international design suggested at the Monaco Congress are particularly manifested in the critical reactions the meeting received from the two German attendants (Finger 1914; Heindl 1914a, b). The German delegates bemoaned the fact that the Congress was primarily an affair of "Latin" countries and, relatedly, that it had decided to adopt the anthropometric system of identification in international policework (Finger 1914:268; Heindl 1914a:649). These criticisms betray deep-seated German-French antagonisms of police technique and administration, because the anthropometric bertillonage system of criminal identification (measuring characteristics of the body) was nationally implemented in France, whereas the dactyloscopic system (of fingerprinting) was used in Germany. Therefore, the choice over which identification system would be adopted at the international level was not a mere technical matter, but would necessitate the reorganization of other participating national police systems. At the root of the problem, the German delegates argued, was the intent of the Congress to establish a supranational police instead of instituting a cooperative network among police institutions that would preserve their respective [*754] national traits. A decade later, when the ICPC would successfully establish such a cooperative model, one of the German attendants again dismissed the Monaco meeting as "dangerous dreams! Congressional fantasies! Springtime ravings at the Côte d’Azur" (Heindl 1924:20).

In sum, the failure of the Monaco Congress to establish an international police organization can be attributed to the fact that the meeting did not take into account the development of police bureaucracies and their attained level of autonomy from the political centers of national states at the turn of the 20th century. The Congress was still conceived on the basis of a model of formal law and politics that was rooted in 19th-century conceptions of sovereignty and national jurisdiction. It thereby conflicted with police institutions that were already prepared for the 20th century by having developed conceptions of the expert means and goals of policing, nationally as well as internationally. As discussed earlier, evolved European police culture had developed conceptions of the proper means and goals of policing in terms no longer based on legality but on professional expertise and knowledge. This also implied a mutual recognition among police officials that the only viable form of international police cooperation with broad participation could not have political objectives and not aim to institute a supranational police but instead design a cooperative criminal police organization. Such a non-political and cooperative structure was precisely what the International Criminal Police Commission successfully introduced in 1923. It was no coincidence, therefore, that the meeting that founded the ICPC was by its organizers not conceived as a re-organization of the Monaco Congress. And even though the ICPC would also go through the turmoils of a world war and other periods of international political antagonism, the organization would remain in existence until today.

The ICPC and the Organization of "Purely Technical Matters"

The International Criminal Police Commission was founded in Vienna in 1923 to provide mutual assistance among national police institutions within the frameworks of the laws of their respective states on matters of ordinary crime, i.e. violations of criminal law (Internationale Kriminalpolizeiliche Kommission [hereafter IKK] 1923). The Commission’s headquarters were established in Vienna, and in the years to come, the ICPC gradually expanded its membership and organizational facilities. The membership grew from 22 representatives at the time of the Commission’s founding to 58 members by 1934. Almost all European countries were represented, as were police from Egypt, China, and Japan. The United States became an official member of the Commission in June of 1938 when President Roosevelt enacted a bill to that effect.

Organizationally, the ICPC headquarters in Vienna occupied a strategic place for they centralized information on a variety of police matters, especially notices of wanted criminals, received from the participating police institutions. Next to the headquarters, various means to enhance direct police-to-police communication constituted the most important achievement of the ICPC in its formative years. These included coded telegraphic communications, a radio network, printed publications, and meetings. The Commission’s most tangible realizations were the monthly periodical International Public Safety (Internationale Öffentliche Sicherheit), containing data on international crime and information on wanted suspects, and the international meetings, fourteen of which took place in various European capitals before World War II.

In relation to my first hypothesis on the necessary conditions of international police cooperation, a variety of circumstances surrounding the formation of the ICPC indicate that a condition of institutional independence was achieved and explicitly relied upon. There is first of all the fact that ICPC was formed at a meeting convened independently by police officials, not as the result of a diplomatic initiative. It was but five years after the end of World War I that the congress was organized by Johannes Schober, the Police President of Vienna, who became the first President of the ICPC from 1923 until his death in 1932. At the Vienna Congress, Schober stated that he had first developed the plan to establish international police collaboration about a year after the end of the World War (IKK 1923:8-10). But at that time Schober felt that so close after the fall of the Hungarian-Austrian empire Vienna could not be suitable for such an important task and that the initiative should be left to police captain M.C. van Houten from the "neutral" Netherlands (IKK 1923:8). Van Houten of the Dutch criminal police had indeed as early as December 1919 contacted police across Europe to establish an international police office (van Houten 1923). But, too soon after the war, van Houten’s initiative did not produce the desired results. Four years later, Schober still realized the boldness of the plan but nonetheless hoped that "even in the midst of oppositions between the nations of the earth" the Vienna Congress would unite police "above the political battle," for police cooperation, he argued, was "not a political but a cultural goal" (IKK 1923:1,9,2).

The delayed gathering of the Vienna Congress after World War I demonstrates that the degree of institutional independence of police bureaucracies is affected by broader societal developments. Indeed, the immediate political implications of the war were obviously considered too weighty to allow for international [*756] police cooperation. But by 1923, circumstances had changed. Among the conditions that then favored police institutions to take advantage of their acquired formal bureaucratic autonomy is particularly to be mentioned the period of relative tranquillity and pacification in world affairs that was set in after World War I. Of course, as history would dramatically show, this condition of stability was more presumed than real, but it was nonetheless of sufficient reality in perception that it effectively enabled police institutions to expand and take advantage of structural conditions that allowed them to engage in international cooperation. Importantly, the acquired independence of police institutions participating in the ICPC did not imply a surrender of national sovereignty. On the contrary, the ICPC was explicitly set up (and Interpol today still operates) not as a supranational force but as an international network of national systems of police (Anderson 1989:168-185). As ICPC President Schober emphasized, the Commission would not strive for "something impossible" as "supranationality" and instead would "hold on to the national individuality of all participating states" (in Archiv für Kriminologie 1925:72). Sensitivity about nationality questions was also reflected in the composition of the ICPC executive committee, where the various posts rotated from one country to another. The only imbalance in terms of nationality was the placement of the ICPC headquarters and the appointment of the Presidency of the Commission with the Viennese criminal police.

The reasons why this Austrian advantage was acceptable among the ICPC membership relate to the fact that Austrian police systems and organization were particularly well advanced, especially in technical respects. As I indicated before, the Austrian police had indeed a long-standing history with collecting files on, and specializing in the fight against, international criminals, particularly in developing systems of information exchange (Liang 1992:18-34). In fact, dating back to the days of the Habsburg dynasty, several attempts had been initiated by Austrian authorities to establish a European police system. Throughout the 1860s, for instance, Austrian police authorities were attempting to expand the membership of the Police Union and form a European-wide police organization (Liang 1992:151-153). Similarly, after the assassination of Empress Elisabeth of Austria in September 1898, the Austrian foreign minister called for the creation of an international police league (Liang 1992:160). While these plans were unsuccessful, they do indicate the special preoccupation of Austria in international policework. The acquired expertise, means and technical prowess of Austrian involvement in international policework could now be put to good use, especially for criminal (not political) police matters. The technically dominant position of the Viennese police in the ICPC was also accepted because police from [*757] the smaller European countries lacked the necessary resources to maintain an international office and because police from Germany and France, though both participants in the ICPC, were unacceptable in any leadership position given their antagonistic positions during and after World War I. Moreover, to secure the sovereignty of the individual nationalities, the Vienna headquarters were so designed that they enabled participation of national police systems without amalgamation. The headquarters only collected information forwarded by participating police institutions and passed on requests from one national police to another. As such, the headquarters did not initiate any investigations but functioned as a mere facilitator of police communications between national systems (Anderson 1989:168-185). International communication technologies by radio and telegraph likewise facilitated interaction among police, as did the meetings, without the formation of a supranational force.

Perhaps most clearly indicating an independence from politics is that the ICPC was established without the signing of an international treaty or legal document. All ICPC activities were planned (mostly at the meetings and through personal correspondence) and executed by and for participating police without input or control from their respective governments. In fact, the Commission had no internationally recognized legal status and no legal procedure was ever formalized to acquire membership in the ICPC. The Commission did strive for governmental and legal recognition of its established structures and appealed for formal sanctioning from the League of Nations, inviting representatives of the League to the ICPC meetings (Palitzsch 1927; Skubl 1937). But, importantly, this appeal for political-legal approval occurred after the Commission was developed and its structures were already in place, for, as van Houten expressed, the League of Nations was not considered capable to handle "such purely technical matters" (van Houten 1923:46).

As a non-governmental organization, the ICPC was never very successful in having its activities formally sanctioned by the League of Nations, in part because the League independently organized various aspects of policework, especially in matters of white slavery, narcotics, and falsifications of currencies, themes on which the League held several meetings and passed international resolutions throughout the 1920s and 1930s (Marabuto 1935:113-149). More successful, however, was the ICPC's pursuit of approval from the national governments of the various participating police agencies. Specified in one of the resolutions at the Vienna Congress as a desirable goal of cooperation (IKK 1923:201), by the 1930s nearly all ICPC members were officially sanctioned by their respective governments and could often rely on additional funds and personnel to set up specialized offices (the so-called National Central Bureaus) needed [*758] to maintain international communications with the Vienna headquarters. As such, what is witnessed is an international police network seeking to obtain legal and governmental approval after the organization had already been established and elaborated independently on the basis of professional police conceptions and without regard for political and legal considerations.

The Myth of International Crime and the Motives of International Police Cooperation

The International Police Conference (New York, 1922) and the Limits of International Crime

My second hypothesis states that once structural conditions of institutional independence are fulfilled, international police cooperation can become operational when participating police agencies have successfully developed a common organizational interest in the fight against international crime. The negative case of this hypothesis is presented by the International Police Conference, the first effort that was taken to formalize international police cooperation after World War I. The International Police Conference was organized at a meeting of police in New York in September 1922 (International Police Conference [hereafter: IPC] 1923; Enright 1925; Welzel 1925). Although the meeting attracted only five foreign delegates, it established the International Police Conference (IPC) as a permanent organization to promote and facilitate international cooperation among police. However, in terms of membership and operations, the Conference was to be a predominantly American organization and mostly promoted a coordination of local U.S. law enforcement agencies, with some additional participation from Canadian law enforcement. The most tangible attempt to make good on the international aspirations of the Conference occurred when a joint meeting was organized with the International Criminal Police Commission in Paris in 1931. There it was decided to set up an international police bureau in the United States and to discuss at a next joint meeting the creation of a ‘World Organization of Police.’ But the international bureau was never established and no additional joint meetings were held. In 1932, the IPC was brought under the direction of Barron Collier, a wealthy retired businessman who cultivated a keen interest in international police cooperation (Nadelmann 1993:90-91). Collier tried to put new life in the organization, but apart from meetings in Chicago in 1933 and in Montreal in 1937, the organization ceased to exist.

Although the International Police Conference was not a successful organization, it was created under structural conditions [*759] favorable for international cooperation. The Conference was independently organized by police agencies, especially the New York City Police and its commissioner Richard Enright, that were sufficiently professionalized to operate independently from governmental control. As Enright remarked at the IPC founding meeting, police professionals were in charge of "the work" in law enforcement whereas the politicians were unknowledgeable (IPC 1923:341). Police cooperation in the IPC was also aspired to be formalized without the signing of a legally binding document, although the Conference did strive for legal-political recognition once formed. The Conference’s plan to establish a central bureau, in particular, was to be approved through appropriate federal legislation, and bills to that effect were (unsuccessfully) entered in U.S. Congress in 1922 and 1923 (National Archives, Record Group 165, 2045-739/3).

Structural conditions for international cooperation were in terms of formal bureaucratic independence as favorable in 1922 in the United States as they would be a year later in Europe when the ICPC was formed. Yet what the International Police Conference missed was a practical playing field on which to effectively organize the fight against international crime. The self-stated motives of the organizers of the IPC were clear: the organization had to reach beyond national jurisdiction because "the enemies of society, organized or otherwise, are international in their scope" (Enright 1925:89). The internationalization of crime, furthermore, was believed to have been brought about by the rapid social changes after World War I (IPC 1923:14-15; Hart 1925:54). However, an internationalization of crime with sufficient implications for the development of a professional myth that would justify the creation of an international police organization was at this time still missing in the United States.

To be sure, U.S. law enforcement to some extent had been involved in international tasks for many years (Nadelmann 1993:15-102). Early on since the founding of the Union, for example, a high premium was placed on customs regulations and the revenue that could be derived from their enforcement. Not surprisingly, the U.S. Customs Service was among the first federal U.S. police forces to be created in 1789 and Treasury agents were among the first to work internationally through cooperation with foreign police or by being stationed abroad (Nadelmann 1993:22-31). But because of the geographical distance with Europe and in the absence of a well developed federal police, law enforcement agencies in the United States remained relatively insulated from the rest of the world. Also, technological means of communication and transportation were until the mid-20th century not sufficiently developed for there to be any real concern of international criminality between the United States and Europe. Police tasks that related to an increasing [*760] mobility in social life were either handled locally (e.g., the policing of immigrant groups) or remained mostly restricted to inter-state matters (e.g., white slavery). From the late 19th-century onwards these duties were handled by federal U.S. law enforcement agencies, especially the investigative force in the U.S. Justice Department which since 1935 has been called the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Why then was it that the IPC was nonetheless established with the intent on fostering cooperation across national states? Rather than viewing the formation of the International Police Conference in terms of an organizational myth responding to an internationalization of crime, the IPC should be considered in terms of certain internal police developments in the United States, particularly the police reform movement that sought to fight off political partisanship and corruption and enhance professionalism in policework (Walker 1977). This increasing quest for professionalism also entailed an effort to improve police relations, primarily with the public, but also with police of other nations. Publicly, the IPC presented itself as "the premier police association of the world" (Hart 1925:55) and promoted international cooperation, but not so as to respond to any growing concern over an increase in international crime. In fact, there is no empirical evidence that any international investigation ever originated from the IPC. Striking also is that between May 1924 and October 1925 the IPC published a monthly periodical, the Police Magazine (later renamed Police Stories) that covered several articles on foreign police systems but no investigative information of any kind. Instead of oriented at fighting international crime, the formation of the IPC served as an organizational presentation of self relative to other professional police forces across the world, especially in Europe. For this reason, it was important for founder Enright to argue that the IPC brought together police from all "civilized nations, states, and municipalities of the world" (IPC 1923:15), even though an overwhelming majority of the organization’s membership was from the United States (Deflem 1996a:152). As a professional association, the IPC could not compete with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), an organization that since 1893 had contributed to advance professionalism among local U.S. police agencies (Deflem 1996a:68-70; Nadelmann 1993:84-91). There was in fact some competition between the IPC and the IACP, as the result of inter-agency conflict between the New York City Police, which founded the IPC, and local and federal law enforcement agencies in Washington, D.C., which controlled the IACP. Having positioned itself explicitly as an advocacy group, the IACP could make good on its ambitions of professionalism much more readily than the IPC on its aspirations to fight international crime. The fate of the IPC was sealed in the absence of any [*761] significant concerns over an internationalization of crime that would justify a transatlantic police organization, while in terms of concerns over inter-state crimes within the United States as well as with respect to the forms of international crime that at this time occupied U.S. law enforcement, the IPC could not compete in any significant way with the United States’ expanding federal police agencies, in particular the FBI. Especially during the 1930s, the FBI would under direction of its famed Director, J. Edgar Hoover, indeed successfully gather the means, personnel, and budget to virtually monopolize all international law enforcement duties emanating from the United States (Deflem 1996a:187-189).

The ICPC and the Fight Against "The Common Enemy of Human Society"

Whereas the International Police Conference in the United States could not successfully develop a myth of international crime, the International Criminal Police Commission in Europe was in this respect successful. The motivational basis of the ICPC was in the first instance provided by a cross-national rise and internationalization of crime which police officials argued to have taken place after World War I and which was seen as necessitating expanded control across national borders. This operational myth for international cooperation was formed on the basis of a specialized knowledge on the internationalization of crime as well as the professional means to deal with it. Moreover, knowledge and skills were justified in terms of an expertise that sidestepped legal arrangements and focused not on violations of a political nature but the ordinary or common criminal (IKK 1923:1).

Regardless of whether the view of a spectacular crime wave at the end of World War I is empirically valid, the notion that it had occurred and that it should serve as a catalyst for international police cooperation corresponds to the self-declared motives of participating police. To some extent, police knowledge on the development of international crime was surely founded in actual developments, but the vigor and intensity with which the notion was defended betrays a reality different than what statistics could support. First, there was the widespread and consequential idea among police authorities that the level of crime had increased dramatically after the war. The Dutchman Captain van Houten had already expressed the notion of a spectacular influx in crime in many nations at War’s end to justify his initiative in 1919 (van Houten 1923) and Schober reiterated the theme at the Vienna Congress (IKK 1923:8-10). The reports and statistics officials from participating nations provided at the Congress confirmed the necessity of an adequate police response and the commonality [*762] of the task among European police. Second, there was also believed to have occurred an epidemic spread of a new class of criminals that abused the modernization of social life and the increase in mobility after the war. They were the money swindlers, the passport, check and currency forgers, the hotel and railway thieves, the white slave traders and the drug traffickers (IKK 1934:82-129). With the latest technologies of communication and transportation at their disposal, these criminals had in common a unique capacity to transcend the boundaries of time and space in disregard of the national jurisdictions police institutions were traditionally subject to. The preoccupation in the ICPC with these technologically influenced crimes is well shown from the fact that a separate division on the falsification of currencies was already created at the first meeting and that later meetings continued separate discussions on these and other typically modern crimes (Deflem 1996a:120-126).

Thus, what police officials organizing the ICPC argued to justify collaboration across national borders was a new class of criminals appearing in all countries undergoing rapid social change and technological progress, including particularly mobile criminals transcending nation-state borders. The adequate police response was conceived as a well-organized international network that would foster cooperation as an efficient means of enforcement. That these conceptions of international crime and their proper enforcement were not just a matter of discourse among police officials is clear from a closer look at the organizational innovations the ICPC introduced.

Primarily, the ICPC was concerned with a coordination of investigative information as well as of technical know-how through a variety of newly instituted means of information exchange. The Commission established new systems of technologically advanced means for international communication, specifically a telegraphic code and a system of wireless (radio) communications (Deflem 1996a:129-130). Additionally, printed publications and annual meetings served to function as efficient means of direct international cooperation, unhindered by legal procedure and diplomatic formalities. The ICPC publications contained information and identifying data on wanted criminals and suspects and various articles on the latest police techniques, written by police professionals in the various participating states. The meetings were likewise planned and attended by police officials and criminalistics experts, rather than by political dignitaries or judicial administrators. The primary concern for an efficiency of means in international policework is also well reflected in the organization of the international headquarters at Vienna. By 1934, the headquarters included a specialized divisions on the falsification of passport, checks and currencies, on fingerprints and photographs, and on fugitives from justice and ‘Persons Dangerous [*763] to Society’ (Deflem 1996a:126-131; Marabuto 1935:91-101). The organization of the ICPC headquarters, in other words, was based on expert police knowledge, not on categories of criminal law, and reflected technical know-how on the goals and means of policing, not procedures of international law or politics.

Perhaps most clearly exemplifying the impact of a professional understanding of international policing beyond politics and legality were the criticisms among ICPC members against existing political-legal controls of international crime, the most prototypical expression of which was extradition. Extradition was indeed by far the most addressed issue the ICPC dealt with in its formative years. Particularly criticized were the many formalities involved with, and the slowness of, official extradition procedures. At the Vienna Congress in 1923, the Commission had already decided that participating police should develop measures to expedite extradition procedures and that under some circumstances police could exchange suspects without formal governmental approval (IKK 1923:200-201). At later meetings, the Commission members similarly lamented extradition as an inadequate tool in the fight against international crime (Deflem 1996a:121-125). The procedure was not criticized in terms of jurisdictional sovereignty but because of its inefficiency in fighting international crime, which, as an ICPC resolution of 1928 declared, had been developing "in a manner alarming to mankind as a whole" (IKK 1928). At an ICPC meeting in 1930, the Commission eventually determined to bypass extradition procedures altogether, deciding that ICPC members could make provisional arrests of suspects on the basis of information in the ICPC periodical, even in the absence of an international treaty that sanctioned this provision (Deflem 1996a:136-137). Lamenting extradition as an inefficient tool of international policework, what the ICPC in its place suggested were various expert police means to efficiently tackle the international crime problem. As the resolutions at the Vienna Congress specified (IKK 1923:197-202), the facilitation of direct police-to-police communications and a swifter exchange of information were the primary tools for cooperation across national borders. Considerations of efficiency dominated in the choice of adequate police techniques, not concerns over legality or justice. Instead of trying to construct an internationally valid legal definition of crime and international crime, the ICPC organized the international headquarters in Vienna on the basis of practical matters of crime detection and international policework and sophisticated means of police technique and identification, such as fingerprints and photographs. For similar reasons also instituted were communication systems through telegraph, radio, and printed documents, while meetings were organized for police to interact on a person-to-person basis. [*764]

In sum, just as the increase in international crime was among the ICPC membership understood in expert terms, the means to handle the problem were professionally conceived on the basis of a purposive-rational efficiency. Technological developments, ironically, were instrumental in both stimulating concerns over international crime as well as enhancing the means of its enforcement. For while technological progress brought about increasing opportunities for cross-border criminality, it also led to a growing expertise in the means of policing and criminalistics. Thus, technically sophisticated means of crime detection were important factors that enabled police bureaucracies to effectively develop a myth of international crime that went beyond a mere discourse among experts.

Bureaucratic Autonomy and the Internationalization of Police

I have explained the formation of the International Criminal Police Commission in 1923 and the failure of selected other attempts to organize international police cooperation since the middle of the 19th century on the basis of a model of bureaucratic autonomy inspired by Max Weber. I argued that police institutions must have attained a degree of separation from their respective governments so that a structural condition of institutional independence is created. Furthermore, an organizational myth of international crime has to be developed among police of different nations to function as a motivational basis around which to crystallize cooperative work. In this discussion I wish to move beyond the historical-empirical evidence on the immediate cases at hand and argue for the sociological relevance and strength of a Weberian perspective of social control.

The Politics of Police

In terms of my first hypothesis, I argued for the relevance of the structural condition of formal bureaucratic autonomy of police institutions participating in international efforts. In the case of the ICPC, formal bureaucratic autonomy is most clearly evinced from the fact that the organization was established independently at the initiative of police officials. Earlier 19th-century efforts to organize police cooperation could not rely on police institutions sufficiently detached from their respective political centers and therefore remained restricted in terms of international scope and participation. The Monaco Congress of 1914 did not take accomplished developments in the bureaucratization of the police function into account and was doomed to fail because the initiative was taken by politicians and magistrates who relied on dated models of legality and international law. [*765] Positing the relevance of the structural condition of institutional independence, I did not deny the significance of external factors on the development of police institutions. On the contrary, like Weber suggested with respect to the bureaucratization process in general (Weber 1922:556-566), certain societal presuppositions had to be met for police institutions to become detached from their political centers. In the case of the ICPC, I mentioned political conditions of pacification that enabled the trend toward bureaucratic autonomy of police in the interbellum decades of the 1920s and 1930s. The model of bureaucratization I developed from Weber as such takes into account the influence from societal conditions that may enable or impede police institutions to acquire independence.

My thesis on formal bureaucratic autonomy underscores the argument that structural differences in independence from politics accounted for the fact that some national police systems could and others could not participate in international police organizations such as the ICPC. This suggests that formal bureaucratic autonomy is a determining factor of police internationalization irrespective of the political ideologies of the nations involved and irrespective of the nature of their relationships in matters of foreign policy. This thesis contradicts perspectives that suggest that the ICPC and other international police organizations are to be explained primarily as efforts to advance the political goals of certain powerful states. Authors defending such perspectives have in the case of the International Criminal Police Commission alluded to the ideological persuasion of the police officials who founded and participated in the ICPC and, relatedly, the political objectives the ICPC was to accomplish under the guise of crime control (Bresler 1992:21-52; Busch 1995:264-274; Greilsamer 1986:21-52). Political motivations would be most clearly revealed in the case of Johannes Schober, the initiator and first president of the ICPC, who was also Chancellor of Austria on two occasions, in 1921 and 1929, and served as Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1930 to 1932 (Hubert 1990). Given the ambitions of Schober in matters of international politics, it has been suggested that he founded the ICPC as an instrument of Austrian foreign policy, particularly a tool to revive Austria’s international prestige after the country had been left in a state of instability since the war. Relatedly, it is argued that the ICPC served as an organizational bastion to fight the spread of communism, the fear of which had taken hold of political elites in Europe (and the United States) since the Russian revolution of 1917 (Bresler 1992:21-26). The fact that police from Russia and, later, the Soviet Union did not participate in the ICPC is advanced as the strongest indicator of this perspective. [*766]

However, evidence indicates that such political perspectives have serious flaws in accounting for the formation of the International Criminal Police Commission. Specifically, what a state-centered approach cannot account for is that the ICPC not only explicitly dealt with criminal, not political activities, but that any preoccupation with political issues at this time actually prevented various efforts to foster police cooperation across national borders. Indeed, during much of the 19th century police institutions were representative of conservative political regimes and, hence, international police cooperation, especially in Europe, was primarily targeted at the politically suspect opponents of established governments (Bayley 1975; Liang 1992). But by the early decades of the 20th century such political ambitions were delegated to separate intelligence forces and no longer guided the international organization of bureaucratic police institutions. It is true that in the years between the two world wars there were still attempts to foster international policework with explicitly political goals —especially with the purpose of controlling communist movements— and that some of these political ideals were also defended among certain members of the ICPC (Fijnaut 1997). Yet, strikingly, these political policing efforts were never successfully implemented in an international organization. For instance, a 1920 meeting in Munich, Germany, attended by police from the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, and Austria, discussed but failed to establish a joint police intelligence network for the suppression of communism (National Archives, Record Group 165, 10058-L-36/1-3). In the late 1930s, other international police meetings with explicit political objectives —including efforts to establish anti-communist police cooperation organized by police from South-America, Nazi Germany, and fascist Italy— were likewise not successful (National Archives, Record Group 242, 21/2525789). The only international police efforts with a political motive that were successful in the first half of the 20th century were instigated unilaterally by national police institutions operating secretively abroad, or involved cooperation that remained at a bilateral or restricted multilateral level.

Against state-centered interpretations of international police, therefore, I suggest that certain police institutions, including those of Communist Russia, could not cooperate in the ICPC not because of any political motivations among the membership of the ICPC —however real political antagonisms were at the level of national governments— but because of the structural condition that those non-participating institutions remained too closely linked to their respective political centers. Not the ideological nature of the political regime, but the formal separation of police bureaucracies from their governments (whatever their ideological disposition) enabled police bureaucracies to cooperate in international organizations. This explains that police [*767] from Russia did not take part in the ICPC because of its strong attachment to the Communist dictatorship, but also that police from other nations could and did participate in a common structure although they too were not closely akin in ideological respects and entertained anything but amicable political relationships. The strongest evidence supporting this argument is the cooperation in the ICPC of police from countries that were as politically hostile during the here considered years as France, England, Italy, and Germany. Political processes, then, cannot be considered constitutive of international policework, although the structural condition of bureaucratic autonomy is influenced by historically variable circumstances. And, indeed, political conditions are often seen to impede police from attaining or maintaining formal bureaucratic independence. Most clearly in the case of the ICPC, severe difficulties in upholding professional police relationships mounted by the late 1930s, especially after the Nazi invasion of Poland signaled the prelude to World War II and, even more so, when the United States joined the war effort. Under the extreme condition of warfare, a bureaucratic independence of police cannot be maintained. Hence, international cooperation among police of hostile states was virtually non-existent during the war, although the practical implications of the war-time ICPC —the headquarters of which had fallen under Nazi control— are not entirely clear (Deflem 1996a:248-258).

Among the implications of the fact that police institutions are in a position to cooperate internationally once they have gained formal bureaucratic autonomy is that cooperation can take place among police of national states that may be very different in political, legal, and other respects. The strength of survival of the ICPC is in this respect remarkable considering the great political and cultural heterogeneity that marks the European continent, dividing the region for hundreds of years. But putting aside any divisive issues, national police institutions participating in the ICPC could cooperate because of shared professional standards and objectives beyond state politics. This absence of state-control only refers to a formal separation of police from the governments of states and is not meant to imply that police institutions are not related to the power and might of states. On the contrary, formally sanctioned with the tasks of order maintenance and crime control, police institutions are arguably the most visible and concrete expression of the state’s legitimate monopoly over the (internal) means of coercion (Bittner 1970; see generally Melossi 1990). In that sense, police is always related to power and force and as such political (Reiner 1985). In fact, the proclaimed reliance of police institutions and other bureaucracies on principles of efficiency and their presentation in strictly professional terms are {*768} themselves important strategies of domination (Weber 1922:122-130).

My point here, therefore, is not to argue that the state and public institutions of social control are not related, nor that formal bureaucracies of social control are not a critical component of state power, but only that the structures and mechanisms of (international) police organizations are not exhausted with reference to the ideological dictates of the political center of states. An alternative perspective could hold that the formation of the ICPC was enabled by agreements between states over the politically recognized utility of an international police organization, but evidence shows that such agreements only came after police experts had already formed such an organization with means and goals they had decided upon without political control.

The thesis of bureaucratic independence harmonizes with Weber’s observation that bureaucracies can keep on functioning regardless of whether a society is organized along capitalist or socialist lines and regardless of the nature of the political regime (Weber 1922:128-130, 560-579). Indeed, as this analysis showed, once a police institution is sufficiently independent from its political center, it can function as an expert apparatus that can engage in collaborative work with other, likewise independent police bureaucracies. Institutional independence accounts for the fundamental irony of international police cooperation: that police institutions transcend national jurisdictional competence and move beyond the function assigned to them by their respective political centers.

The Laws of International Police

With the structural conditions for police cooperation fulfilled, the motivational basis that operationalized international policework in the case of the ICPC was a professional myth of a cross-national rise and internationalization of crime since the end of World War I. Accompanying the expert conceptions of the goals of international policework, the means to deal with the problem of international crime were likewise subject to professional police judgment. With its emphasis on technically sophisticated means of policing, exemplified by the functionally specialized headquarters and instituted mechanisms of police-to-police communications, the ICPC —unlike the International Police Conference— so accomplished what Weber with a witty snap at Marx once called a "concentration of the means of administration" (Weber 1922:567).

Based on the myth of international crime, the elaboration of the ICPC implies a rationalization as a systematic organization in terms of instrumental efficiency (Smelser 1998:2). However, as there has been some confusion on the issue of efficiency in the [*769] reception of Weber’s work (Clegg 1994:66-67) as well as the ideal-typical status of Weber’s terminology (Albrow 1970:61-66), my analysis implies no conclusions on whether rationalized policework is more efficient or effective. I do not argue that the ICPC was a more efficient instrument in the control of international crime, but instead that it was motivated by, and explicitly designed to accommodate, a professional conception of efficiency. In fact, evidence indicates that the ICPC was not very effective in terms of handling international crime. Based on the minimal evidence available, the ICPC possessed some 7,000 fingerprints between 1922 and 1927, and the International Bureau in Vienna had by 1936 reportedly collected information on 3,724 suspects (Bresler 1992:40; Leibig 1936:266). Those numbers are not impressive compared to the information collected by most other participating and comparable national police systems at the time. The FBI, for instance, already possessed over 1 million fingerprints as early as 1926 (and about 5 million in 1935). The relative ineffectiveness of the ICPC in investigative respects harmonizes with Weber’s insight that the actual power of a bureaucracy in influencing the social structure it acts upon is empirically variable (Weber 1922:572). Instead of effectiveness in investigations, the fostering of professional relationships among police officials, especially through the meetings, may well have been among the ICPC’s most concrete realizations. These personal contacts, moreover, may also have fueled additional bilateral cooperation among police complementary to the structures of the ICPC. The notion that the ICPC primarily enhanced cooperation through personal contacts parallels Peter Blau’s famous study of informalism in organizations (Blau 1955).

Regardless of effectiveness, however, it is significant that the organizational structure of the ICPC was developed on the basis of systems of knowledge shared by police professionals. Weber recognized very well the relevance of knowledge for bureaucratic power and ultimately even defined bureaucracy as "domination through knowledge" (Weber 1922:129). Foucauldian studies of crime control and police, similarly, have indicated the relevance of expert knowledge cultures in terms of a tripartite relationship between theory (criminology), empirical knowledge (criminal statistics), and instrument of control (police) (Foucault 1978; see Deflem 1997). Recent scholarship on police cooperation has also argued for the relevance of knowledge systems for the diffusion of police objectives and police technique in international partnerships (e.g., Deflem 1996b; Nadelmann 1993; Sheptycki 1995). James Sheptycki (1998a,b) has usefully described these shared knowledge systems in terms of a transnational occupational subculture that police across nations have come to develop through information exchange and practical arrangements of cross-border policework. Sheptycki argues [*770] that such cross-border arrangements among police defy clear-cut categorization, particularly when one is assessing the rise of transnational policing in terms of a diminishing or strengthening of state power. However, increased complexity in the internationalization of policing need not imply that its historical antecedents cannot be empirically traced and its various components unraveled in terms of a theoretically founded comprehensive approach.

Thus, the bureaucracy perspective reveals that cultural forces of expert police myths on international crime fostered international cooperation practices, demonstrating that bureaucracies are significantly driven by internal dynamics related to organizational strength. Structural conditions of bureaucratic autonomy may furthermore have been strengthened by cultural developments of the expert knowledge systems on international crime, dialectically reinforcing developments originally enabled by the condition of institutional independence. Sociologists of formal organizations have in similar terms argued for the relevance of these developments in the broader context of societal bureaucratization. Comparative sociologist S.N. Eisenstadt (1956:69), for instance, explains the drift toward bureaucratic independence from political rulers in terms of the officials’ expertise and successful claim to a "professional morale." Wolfgang Mommsen (1989:112) likewise speaks of an "inherent dynamism of bureaucratic institutions" that results in a "self-propelling process" which further accelerates what Henry Jacoby (1969:156) calls the bureaucratic "will to do everything." Indeed, it was because of an organizationally developed system of knowledge on the cross-national rise and internationalization of crime that the ICPC could found and expand its organizational structure and facilities, despite the fact even that among the Commission members no clear-cut definition of international crime was ever attained.

What did matter and what did operationalize the ICPC was the notion —undisputed among police— that crime was on the rise across the world and that it was more and more of an international nature. This entails no functionalist argument that international police cooperation is necessitated by an internationalization of crime, for it is not relevant whether these views on the nature and level of criminality were empirically accurate, but that they were accepted to be valid by police officials and therefore effectively motivated international cooperation. In the case of the ICPC, a myth of international crime enabled police institutions to form an international network based on professional expert conceptions irrespective of political and legal concerns and without prior government approval. For as Blau and Meyer (1971:50-59) argue, bureaucratic myths not only mobilize members around organizationally [*771] defined causes, they also insulate the organization from control and criticism. This also confirms, as Weber maintained, that state and market do not determine the relative strength of the bureaucracy versus the political rulers (Weber 1922:128-130, 615). Instead, it is the level of technical expertise attained by the officials that can propel the bureaucracy to take on a course of its own. The functioning of the ICPC on the basis of professional expertise harmonizes with Weber’s view of the bureaucratic apparatus as an "almost unbreakable formation" that functions "as a machine" and is "capable of universal application" (Weber 1922:570, 561, 126). Importantly, this does not mean that international police organizations can totally insulate themselves from concerns over legality and rights. On the contrary, as much as I argued that the development and presentation of international police practices in terms of professional expertise is itself political, so should it be noted that international policing is subject to criticisms in normative terms, especially with respect to finding new ways to guarantee human rights and democratic accountability in the global age (Deflem 1999).

Importantly, expert systems of police knowledge emphasize a particular conception of, and an efficiency to control, international crime in extra-legal terms. In fact, police officials in the Commission criticized legal conceptions of crime and existing arrangements of international law, because they remained bound to national jurisdictions and were time-consuming and inefficient. What the members of the ICPC instead emphasized were developments in crime influenced by societal factors (modernization, technological progress), not violations of formal legal systems. In terms of means, also, it was a strong emphasis on efficiency in the Weberian sense of purposive rationality that led to the establishment and elaboration of the ICPC’s organizational facilities and accelerated its progression regardless of legal arrangements and without supervision from political authority. This confirms the Weberian viewpoint that relative to the expertise and know-how of the bureaucrat, the political officeholder is always in the position of "a dilettante" (Weber 1922:572). Hence, Weber (1918:32) argued that "in the modern state real authority...rests necessarily and unavoidably in the hands of the bureaucracy." The ICPC facilities and activities were indeed planned to be as technologically sophisticated as the feats of their targets. And only after the structures of international policing were already in place, were appeals made to sanction what expert police bureaucracies had already established. The case of the ICPC so illustrates Weber’s (1922:128-129) argument that control of a bureaucracy is "only limitedly possible for the non-specialist: the specialist is in the long run frequently superior to the non-specialist in getting his will done." [*772]


I have relied on the sociology of Max Weber to defend a perspective of social control that accounts for the formation of international police organizations on the basis of a two-fold model of bureaucratic autonomy. I argued that the fact that national police institutions have acquired institutional independence creates structural conditions favorable for international cooperation, regardless of whether the states of those police institutions approximate one another in political, legal, and other respects. This perspective recognizes the embeddedness of police institutions in broader societal contexts without surrendering to all too readily accepted assumptions about the explanatory powers of state and market. I thus am led to a rejection of such state-centered and/or neo-Marxist arguments, not a priori, but because of their clear shortcomings with respect to empirical adequacy requirements. For although certain societal preconditions were significant in influencing bureaucratic police autonomy, they cannot be considered constitutive of the dynamics of international policework. Instead, expert knowledge systems about a cross-national rise and internationalization of crime provided the motivational basis for an operationalization of international policework.

The paradoxical implication of my theoretical model, then, can be summarized as follows: certain social preconditions favored a trend toward a bureaucratization process which itself implied increasing independence on the basis of specialized skills and expertise. As such, in this article I have empirically grounded a Weberian perspective of international policing that is not reductionist in terms of developments of state politics and formal law, for what my analysis has shown is that international police organizations were not reflective of political and legal developments and did not target international criminals as political opponents or legal subjects. On the contrary, the cross-national rise and internationalization of crime as the central motivator of international policing was constructed beyond, even against, national politics and law. Only after police officials had established professional structures and facilities of international policework did they appeal to national and international bodies of government to formally sanction what had already been created under conditions of bureaucratic autonomy.

I have in this study strengthened the empirical foundations of my theoretical arguments by broadening the scope of investigation to comparatively research several instances of international police cooperation, but my perspective needs further corroboration from additional studies. In terms of the internationalization of social control as a broader phenomenon, this study has focused on selected historical instances of international collaboration between public police institutions and have not concentrated [*773] on the manifold contemporary dimensions of international policing. I can here not decide as to whether my conclusions may need to be qualified when considering other aspects of social control besides those involving public police institutions and late-20th century developments of international police cooperation that may be qualitatively different from its historical antecedents. Although I have elsewhere applied the Weberian model to aspects of international police today (Deflem 1999), other scholars have defended competing theoretical models in their research on punishment (e.g., Goldstone & Useem 1999; Hochstetler & Shover 1997), the police use of force (e.g., Jacobs & O’Brien 1998; Jacobs & Helms 1997), and dimensions of international police today (e.g., Dunn 1996; Gilboy 1997; Huggins 1998). The intention of my study, however, was to show that for certain developments of social control, in casu the historical origins of international police organizations, a Weberian model of social control may be more valuable. This would offer support to the notion that, as some experts have argued (Marx 1995:329; Nadelmann 1993:466), the theme of international police is too wide and varied to be captured by one simple proposition. Paralleling observations on the multi-dimensional nature of international processes in general (Kettner 1997), international policing covers many different dimensions —from bilateral and temporary practices to multilateral and relatively stable organizations; from developments during the 19th-century formation of national states to the present high-tech age of cyberspace— that may defy a single propositional explanation.

I hope that this analysis has demonstrated the value of a sociological approach that transcends narrow perspectives of police in terms of the enforcement of laws or the control of crime. Gary Marx (1981) once astutely described such legalistic outlooks as ‘trampoline-models’ that view of social control exclusively in reaction to violations of formal laws and that so fail to account for the many sociologically relevant complexities of social control. Whereas much of Marx’s work unravels the ironic nature of social control in terms of the characteristics of the situational interaction between rule-violator and rule-enforcer (e.g., Marx 1988), the here presented study argues for a similar inherent dynamics at the organizational level of police institutions and the relationships between them. The bureaucratic model of police which I developed in this article shows that international police can indeed not be viewed in terms of an enforcement of legal norms. On the contrary, international police organizations relied on expert systems of knowledge formulated beyond the realm of state-proclaimed laws. A theoretically founded approach beyond formal legality is precisely, I believe, what should be emphasized by sociological perspectives of police and social control. Such an approach is readily counter-intuitive to an [*774] everyday understanding of police (as law enforcement) and rectifies scholarly accounts that are dominated by such a misconception. The task for sociologists of social control is to develop and test theories that are analytically rooted in the sociological imagination in order to show the specific role played by police institutions in the reproduction of social order.


Albrow, Martin (1970) Bureaucracy. New York: Praeger Publishers.

Anderson, Malcolm (1989) Policing the World: Interpol and the Politics of International Police Cooperation. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Archiv für Kriminologie (1925) "Zeitschriften (Internationale Öffentliche Sicherheit)." 77 Archiv für Kriminologie 72-73.

Bayley, David H. (1975) "The Police and Political Development in Europe," in C. Tilly, ed., The Formation of National States in Western Europe. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

____ (1985) Patterns of Policing. Newark, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Beck, Friedrich & Walter Schmidt, eds. (1993) Die Polizeikonferenzen deutscher Staaten, 1851-1866: Präliminardokumente, Protokolle und Anlagen. Weimar: Hermann Böhlaus Nachfolger.

Benson, Bruce L., David W. Rasmussen, & David L. Sollars (1995) "Police Bureaucracies, Their Incentives, and the War on Drugs." 83 Public Choice 21-45.

Bittner, Egon (1970) The Functions of Police in Modern Society. Chevy Chase, MD: National Institute of Mental Health.

Black, Donald (1980) The Manners and Customs of the Police. New York: Academic Press.

Blau, Peter M (1955) The Dynamics of Bureaucracy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

____ ([1964] 1976) "Social Exchange Among Collectivities," in W.M. Evan, ed., Interorganizational Relations. Hammondsworth: Penguin Books.

Blau, Peter M., & Marshall W. Meyer. 1971. Bureaucracy in Modern Society. Second edition. New York: Random House.

Boli, John, & George M. Thomas (1997) "World Culture in the World Polity: A Century of International Non-Governmental Organization." 62 American Sociological Review 171-190.

Bresler, Fenton (1992) Interpol. Weert: M & P.

Busch, Heiner (1995) Grenzenlose Polizei? Neue Grenzen und polizeiliche Zusammenarbeit in Europa. Münster, Germany: Westfälisches Dampfboot.

Clegg, Stewart R (1994) "Max Weber and Contemporary Sociology of Organizations," in L.R. ray & M. Reed, eds., Organizing Modernity. New York: Routledge.

Cohen, Stanley (1985) Visions of Social Control. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Cohen, Stanley, & Andrew Scull, eds. (1985) Social Control and the State. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Coser, Lewis A. (1982) "The Notion of Control in Sociological Theory," in J.P. Gibbs, ed., Social Control: Views from the Social Sciences. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

Deflem, Mathieu (1994) "Social Control and the Theory of Communicative Action." 22 International Journal of the Sociology of Law 355-373.

____ (1996a) Borders of Police Force: Historical Foundations of International Policing Between Germany and the Unites States. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Colorado. [*775]

____ (1996b) "International Policing in 19th-Century Europe: The Police Union of German States, 1851-1866." 6 International Criminal Justice Review 36-57.

____ (1997) "Surveillance and Criminal Statistics: Historical Foundations of Governmentality." 17 Studies in Law, Politics and Society 149-184.

____ (1999) "The Boundaries of International Cooperation: Human Rights and Neo-Imperialism In U.S.-Mexican Police Relationships." Paper presented at a conference on International Institutions: Global Processes-Domestic Consequences, Duke University.

Douglas, Mary (1986) How Institutions Think. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

Dunn, Timothy J. (1996) The Militarization of the U.S.-Mexico Border, 1978-1992. Austin, TX: CMAS Books.

Eisenstadt, S.N. ([1956] 1971) "Tensions and Conflicts in Bureaucratic Societies," in M.T. Dalby & M.S. Werthman, eds., Bureaucracy in Historical Perspective. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman and Company.

Enright, Richard E. (1925) "The Significance of the International Police Conference." 3(3) Police Magazine 21-22,88-89.

Ethington, Philip J. (1987) "Vigilantes and the Police: The Creation of a Professional Police Bureaucracy in San Francisco, 1847-1900." 21 Journal of Social History 197-227.

Fijnaut, Cyrille (1979) Opdat de Macht een Toevlucht Zij. 2 volumes. Antwerp: Kluwer.

____ (1987) "The Internationalization of Criminal Investigation in Western Europe," in C. Fijnaut & R.H. Hermans, eds., Police Cooperation in Europe. Lochem, The Netherlands: Van den Brink.

____ (1997) "The International Criminal Police Commission and the Fight against Communism, 1923-1945," in M. Mazowar, ed., The Policing of Politics in the Twentieth Century : Historical Perspectives. Providence, RI : Berghahn Books.

Finger. (1914) "Der Erste Internationale ‘Congrès de Police Judiciaire’ in Monaco." 1 Deutsche Strafrechts-Zeitung 268-269.

Foucault, Michel ([1975] 1977) Discipline and Punish. New York: Pantheon.

____ ([1978] 1991) "Governmentality," in G. Burchell, C. Gordon, & P. Miller, eds., The Foucault Effect. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Gamson, William A., & Ephraim Yuchtman (1977) "Police and Society in Israel," in D.H. Bayley, ed., Police and Society. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

Garland, David (1990) Punishment and Modern Society. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

____ (1997) "‘Governmentality’ and the Problem of Crime: Foucault, Criminology, Sociology." 1 Theoretical Criminology 173-214.

Gilboy, Janet A. (1997) "Implications of ‘Third-Party’ Involvement in Enforcement: The INS, Illegal Travelers, and International Airlines." 31 Law & Society Review 505-529.

Goldstone, Jack A., & Bert Useem (1999) "Prison Riots as Microrevolutions: An Extension of State-Centered Theories of Revolution." 104 American Journal of Sociology 985-1029.

Greilsamer, Laurent (1986) Interpol: Le Siège du Soupçon. Paris: Alain Moreau.

Habermas, Jürgen (1985) Der philosophische Diskurs der Moderne. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.

Hart, Errol E. (1925) "International Police Conference, Characters and Ideals." 3(1) Police Magazine 54-55,105-107.

Heindl, Robert (1914a) "Internationale Kriminalpolizei." 1 Deutsche Strafrechts-Zeitung 647-652.

____ (1914b) "Bericht über den I. Internationalen Kriminalpolizeikongress in Monaco; Bemerkungen zum I. Internationalen Kriminalpolizeikongreß in Monaco." 58 Archiv für Kriminal-Anthropologie und Kriminalistik 333-353.

____ (1924) "Der internationale Polizeikongreß in Wien." 76 Archiv für Kriminologie 16-30. [*776]

Herbert, Steve (1998) "Police Subculture Reconsidered." 36 Criminology 343-369.

Heyman, Josiah M. (1995) "Putting Power in the Anthropology of Bureaucracy: The Immigration and Naturalization Service at the Mexico-United States Border." 36 Current Anthropology 261-277.

Hochstetler, Andrew L., & Neal Shover (1997) "Street Crime, Labor Surplus, and Criminal Punishment, 1980-1990." 44 Social Problems 358-368.

Hubert, Rainer (1990) Schober: "Arbeitermörder" und "Hort der Republik". Biographie eines Gestrigen. Wien/Köln: Böhlau Verlag.

Huggins, Martha K. (1998) Political Policing: The United States and Latin America. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

International Police Conference (1923) Report of the Proceedings of the Third Annual Meeting, International Police Conference, New York City, New York, U.S.A., April 30 to May 5, 1923. New York: Police Department, City of New York, Bureau of Printing.

Internationale Kriminalpolizeiliche Kommission (1923) Der Internationale Polizeikongreß in Wien (3. bis 7. September 1923). Wien: "Öffentliche Sicherheit" Polizei-Rundschau.

____ (1928) Resolutions Passed by the International Criminal Police Commission in Vienna. At the 5th Ordinary Meeting at Berne on September 10th-12th, 1928. Wien: Internationale Kriminalpolizieliche Kommission.

____ (1934) Die internationale Zusammenarbeit auf kriminalpolizeilichem Gebiete. Handbuch herausgegeben von der Internationalen Kriminalpolizeilichen Kommission (Zweite umgearbeitete und vermehrte Auflage). Wien: Internationalen Kriminalpolizeilichen Kommission.

Jacoby, Henry ([1969] 1973) The Bureaucratization of the World. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Jacobs, David, & Robert M. O’Brien (1998) "The Determinants of Deadly Force: A Structural Analysis of Police Violence." 103 American Journal of Sociology 837-862.

Jacobs, David, & Ronald E. Helms (1997) "Testing Coercive Explanations for Order: The Determinants of Law Enforcement Strength over Time." 75 Social Forces 1361-1392.

Jensen, Richard B. (1981) "The International Anti-Anarchist Conference of 1898 and the Origins of Interpol." 16 Journal of Contemporary History 323-347.

Kettner, Matthias (1997) "Thesen zur Bedeutung des Globalisierungsbegriffs." 45 DeutscheZeitschrift für Philosophie 903-918.

Lacombe, Dany (1996) "Reforming Foucault: A Critique of the Social Control Thesis." 47 British Journal of Sociology 332-352.

Leibig, P. (1936) "XII. Ordentliche Tagung der Internationalen Kriminalpolizeilichen Kommission in Belgrad von 25. Mai bis 4. Juni 1936." 33 Die Polizei 266-270.

Liang, Hsi-Heuy (1992) The Rise of the Modern Police and the European State System. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Liska, Allen E. (1997) "Modeling the Relationships Between Macro Forms of Social Control." 23 Annual Review of Sociology 39-61.

Manning, Peter K. (1977) Police Work: The Social Organization of Policing. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Marabuto, Paul (1935) La Collaboration Policière Internationale en Vue de la Prévention et de la Répression de la Criminalité. Nice: École Professionnelle Don-Bosco.

Marx, Gary T. (1981) "Ironies of Social Control." 28 Social Problems 221-246.

____ (1988) Undercover: Police Surveillance in America. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

____ (1995) "Undercover in Comparative Perspective: Some Implications for Knowledge and Social Research," in C. Fijnaut & G.T. Marx, eds., Undercover: Police Surveillance in Comparative Perspective. The Hague: Kluwer Law International. [*777]

____ (1997) "Social Control Across Borders," in W.F. McDonald, ed., Crime and Law Enforcement in the Global Village. Cincinnati, OH: Anderson Publishing.

McDonald, William F., ed. (1997) Crime and Law Enforcement in the Global Village. Cincinnati, OH: Anderson Publishing.

Melossi, Dario (1990) The State of Social Control. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Meyer, John W., & Brian Rowan (1977) "Institutionalized Organizations: Formal Structure as Myth and Ceremony." 83 American Journal of Sociology 340-363.

Meyer, John W., Boli, John, Thomas, George M., & Francisco O. Ramirez (1997) "World Society and the Nation-State." 103 American Journal of Sociology 144-181.

Mommsen, Wolfgang J. (1989) The Political and Social Theory of Max Weber. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Nadelmann, Ethan (1993) Cops Across Borders: The Internationalization of U.S. Criminal Law Enforcement. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press.

National Archives, College Park, MD. Military Intelligence Division Correspondence, 1917-1941. Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs, Record Group 165.

____ Records of the Reich Leader of the SS and Chief of the German Police. Collection of Foreign Records Seized, 1941-, Record Group 242.

Ng-Quinn, Michael (1990) "Function-Oriented and Functionally Indirect Expansion as Bureaucratic Responses to Modernization: The Case of the Royal Hong Kong Police." 10 Public Administration and Development 101-117.

O’Reilly, Kenneth (1987) "Bureaucracy and Civil Liberties: The FBI Story," in R.M. Glassman, W.H. Swatos, & P.L. Rosen, eds., Bureaucracy Against Democracy and Socialism. New York: Greenwood Press.

Page, Edward C. (1985) Political Authority and Bureaucratic Power. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press.

Palitzsch, Hans (1927) "Internationale Verbrecher und ihre Bekämpfung," in A. Daranyi & O. Daranyi, eds., Große Polizei-Ausstellung Berlin in Wort und Bild. Wien: Internationale Öffentliche Sicherheit.

Reiner, Robert (1985) The Politics of Police. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Roux, Jean-André, ed. ([1914] 1926) Premier Congrès de Police Judiciare Internationale, Monaco (Avril 1914): Actes du Congrès. Paris: G. Godde.

Sheptycki, James W.E. (1995) "Transnational Policing and the Makings of a Postmodern State." 35 British Journal of Criminology 613-635.

____ (1998a) "The Global Cops Cometh: Reflections on Transnationalization, Knowledge Work and Policing Subculture." 49 British Journal of Sociology 57-74.

____ (1998b) "Policing, Postmodernism, and Transnationalization." 38 British Journal of Criminology 485-503.

Simon, Jonathan (1988) "The Ideological Effects of Actuarial Practices." 22 Law & Society Review 771-800.

Skolnick, Jerome H. (1966) Justice Without Trial: Law Enforcement in Democratic Society. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Skubl, Michael (1937) "Völkerbundidee und Polizei." 17(1) Öffentliche Sicherheit 1-3.

Smelser, Neil J. (1998) "The Rational and the Ambivalent in the Social Sciences." 63 American Sociological Review 1-16.

Stenson, Kevin (1993) "Community Policing as a Governmental Technology." 22 Economy and Society 373-389.

Theoharis, Athan (1992) "FBI Wiretapping: A Case Study of Bureaucratic Autonomy." 107 Political Science Quarterly 101-122. [*778]

Useem, Bert (1997) "The State and Collective Disorders: The Los Angeles Riot/Protest of April, 1992." 76 Social Forces 357-377.

van Houten, M.C. (1923) "Internationale Zusammenarbeit auf kriminalpolizeilichem Gebiet." 75 Archiv für Kriminologie 41-46.

Walker, Samuel (1977) A Critical History of Police Reform: The Emergence of Professionalism. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.

Walther, Hans (pseudonym for Hans Walter Gaebert) (1968) Interpol auf Verbrecherjagd: Die Internationale Kriminalpolizeiliche Kommission im Einsatz. Würzburg: Arena.

Weber, Max ([1918] 1988) "Parlament und Regierung im neugeordneten Deutschland: Zur politischen kritik des Beamtentums und Parteiwesens," in M. Weber, Gesammelte Politische Schriften. Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck).

____ ([1919] 1988) "Politik als Beruf," in M. Weber, Gesammelte Politische Schriften. Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck).

____ ([1922] 1980) Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft: Grundriss der verstehenden Soziologie. Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck).

____ (1958) From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, edited by H.H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills. New York: Oxford University Press.

____ (1978) Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology, edited by Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Welzel, Albrecht (1925) "Die New Yorker Internationale Polizeikonferenz." 4 Deutsches Polizei-Archiv 147-148.


1 Relatedly, the gradual delineation of social control as a separate theme of reflection has been the central development in sociological theorizing on the matter over the past decades (Coser 1982; Deflem 1994; Liska 1997). Whereas the concept of social control was in the 19th century virtually synonymous with social order, since the 1950s it has come to be conceived more narrowly in relation to deviance and crime. Social control has become a mainstay in the more restricted meaning, referring to social processes and structures that —corresponding to the three dominant sociological theory groups— redress, create, or reproduce more than, crime and/or deviant behavior (see Cohen 1985; Cohen & Scull 1985; Marx 1981).

2 My reading of Weber’s perspective of bureaucracy relies on the relevant sections from the posthumously published Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft (Economy and Society) (especially Weber 1922:551-579, 815-837) and some additional writings on bureaucracy in Germany (Weber 1918) and the political profession (Weber 1919). English translations can be found in Weber 1958, 1978.

3 Weber himself introduced the conception of police as bureaucracy when he discussed as a condition favorable to bureaucratization “the increasing need, in a society accustomed to pacification, for order and protection (‘police’) in all areas” (Weber 1922:561).

4 This resonates with a central theme addressed in the work of organizational theorists. Mary Douglas (1986), for instance, argues that an institution acquires legitimacy by showing how its own rules and practices are the only answer to a problem it had itself formulated. In the case of police bureaucracies, Jerome Skolnick (1966:238) similarly speaks of “organizational interests” and “official innovation” to indicate the tendency of modern police to set its own agenda of activities.

5 In the period before 1848, there had also been attempts —largely unsuccessful— to structure European-wide systems of international political policing. Mention can be made of attempts to organize European police systems during the Napoleonic reign in France and the Metternich regime in the Hungarian-Austrian monarchy (Fijnaut 1979:798-843; Liang 1992:18-19, 33-34).

See also my related papers on the history of international policing and my book Policing World Society.