Abstract: The notion of the criminalization of the state is paradoxical. On the one hand, the idea that ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’ might shed light on the potentially criminal behaviour of state-officials. On the other, the assumption that legal rules are general and anonymous, that they apply identically to everybody (and that allows defining these elites as criminals), is in its contemporary form linked to the bureaucratic rule of the state itself. In this commentary on the contributions to this special issue, I address this and other paradoxes of the state with regard to the relation between politics and criminality.
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Journal of Political Power