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Julia Katherina Mahnken: Digital Transformations in Drug-Related Crime: Figurations, Interdependencies, and Balances of Power. [Abstract]

The effects of digital transformations are already being researched in many ways in the context of the police. What this body of work has in common is that it refers to current developments. My research also focuses on current processes of change within a classic criminal phenomenon but places it in the context of long-term processes in order to derive both the resistances to innovation and possible specific opportunities for organisational change that result. The online drug platform “Chemical Revolution” serves as an exemplary case study. Norbert Elias’s figuration and process sociological approach (expansion by Rammert’s concept of distributed action) enables an analysis at micro, meso, and macro levels. It shows that long-term social processes continue under digital conditions and reproduce diverse modes of action. At the same time, power chances for crime investigation are shifting under digital conditions from consumers (microcrime) to markets (macro-phenomena). Although Elias himself did not deal with digital technologies, this illustrative study nevertheless makes clear the value of his process-oriented perspectives and tools (valencies, interdependencies, power balances, figurations).

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