Professor Dick Hobbs

Dick Hobbs was born and raised in east London and came to academic work late having worked as an office boy, labourer, dustman and schoolteacher. He trained as a sociologist at the LSE and the University of Surrey before working at the Universities of Oxford and Durham, where he held Chairs in both Sociology and Law. He was Professor of Sociology at the LSE (2005-2011) before taking a post in the Sociology Department at Essex University (2011-2014), where he was Professor of Sociology and Director of the Criminology Centre.

Dick Hobbs is an urban ethnographer specialising in the sociology of London, organised and professional crime, the night-time economy, violence, drug markets and research methodology. He has received grants, primarily from the ESRC, as well as from the Home Office, the Nuffield Trust and the EU. He has conducted a wide range of consultancies for government agencies and the mass media, and presented evidence to the UK government on the night-time economy, and to a Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Australian drug markets. He is editor of the Routledge Advances in Ethnography series. 

His key publications are: Doing the business (1988, winner of the BSA Philip Abrams Prize), Bad business (1995), Bouncers (2003), and Lush life (2013, winner of the 2013 Outstanding Publication Award from the International Association for the Study of Organized Crime).   

The common thread that runs through this work is a commitment to sociological studies of urban life which emphasise the role of the glocal political economy in shaping deviant cultures. He is currently working on a number of publications emerging from an ESRC funded study of the impact of the 2012 Olympics on the policing of a London borough.

^ Back to top


MSc, 1982, Sociology, London School of Economics

PhD, 1986, University of Surrey


2016: British Society of Criminology Outstanding Achievement Award

2015-: Associate Fellow Royal United Services Institute.

2015: Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology, University of Essex.

2013: Outstanding Publication Award. International Association for the Study of Organised Crime. Lush life: constructing organised crime in the UK. Oxford University Press (2013). 

2007: Life Changer Award. Awarded by the University and Colleges Union 'Changing People's Lives Through Education'.  

2003: Radzinowicz Prize. Awarded by the British Journal of Criminology. Door Lore (BJC 2002). 

1989: Philip Abrams Prize. Awarded by the British Sociological Association for the best book published by a new author. Doing the business: entrepreneurship, the working class and detectives in the East End of London, Oxford University Press (1988).

^ Back to top

Selected Publications


Hobbs, D 2013, Lush life: constructing organised crime in the UK, Oxford University Press, Oxford. 

Fussey, P, Coaffee, J, Armstrong, G and Hobbs, D 2011, Securing the Olympic site, Ashgate. 

Hobbs, D, Hadfield, P, Lister, S & Winlow, S 2003, Bouncers: violence and governance in the night time economy, Oxford University Press. Reprinted paperback 2005.

Hobbs, D 1995, Bad business: professional crime in modern Britain, Oxford University Press. 

Hobbs, D 1988, Doing the business: entrepreneurship, the working class and detectives in the East End of London, Oxford University Press. Reprinted, 1989, 1992, 1996. Winner of the Abrams Prize awarded by the British Sociology Association for the best book published by a new author.

Edited Books

Hobbs, D (ed.) 2011, Ethnography in context, Sage Benchmarks in Social Research Methods (four volume collection), Sage, London. 

Downes, D, Hobbs, D & Newburn, T (eds) 2010, The eternal recurrence of crime and control, Oxford University Press. 

Hobbs, D & Hornsby, R (eds) 2008, Gun crime, International Library of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Penology, Dartmouth. 

Hobbs, D & Wright, R (eds) 2006, The Sage handbook of fieldwork, Sage, London.

Hobbs, D (ed.) 1995, Professional crime, International Library of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Penology, Dartmouth.

Hobbs, D & May, T (eds) 1994, Interpreting the field, Oxford University Press. 

Selected Chapters 

Hobbs, D 2013, 'British crime firms', in G Bruinsma & D Weisburd (eds), Criminology and Criminal Justice, Springer. 

Hobbs, D 2012, 'Deviance' (opens in a new window), Oxford Bibliographies. 

Hobbs, D 2012, 'It was never about the money: market society, organised crime and UK criminology', in S Hall & S Winlow (eds), New directions in criminological theory, Routledge, London. 

Hobbs, D 2012, 'A bog of conspiracy: the institutional evolution of organised crime in the UK', in Allum & Gilmour (eds), The handbook of transnational organized crime, Routledge, London. 

Hobbs, D, 2011, 'We should have listened to Cyrille: the political construction of organised crime in the UK', Festricht for Cyrille Fijnaut, University of Leiden. 

Hobbs, D, Antonopoulos, GA & Hornsby, R 2011, 'The social organisation of the pirated CD/DVD market in a provincial Greek city', in T Kooijmans, M Groenhuijsen, GA Antonopoulos, K von Lampe, J Harvey & A Maljevic (eds), Usual and unusual organising criminals in Europe: profitable crimes, from underworld to upperworld - essays in honour of Petrus van Duyne, Maklu, Antwerp. 

Hobbs, D 2010, 'Stealing commercial cash: from safecracking to armed robbery', in Brookman et al (eds), Handbook of Crime, Willan. 

Hobbs, D 2010, 'Extortion', in Brookman et al (eds), Handbook of Crime, Willan. 

Hobbs, D, O'Brien, K & Westmarland, L 2008, 'Negotiating violence and gender: security and the night time economy in the UK, in S Body-Gendrot & P Spierenburg (eds), Violence in Europe: historical and contemporary perspectives, Springer. 

Hobbs, D 2006, 'East ending: dissociation, de-industrialisation and David Downes', in T Newburn & P Rock (eds), The politics of crime control, Oxford University Press, Oxford. 

Hobbs, D 2004, 'Organised crime in the UK', in C Fijnaut & L Paoli (eds), Organised crime in Europe, Springer, Netherlands, pp. 413-434. 

Hobbs, D 2004, 'Violence and organised crime', in J Hagen & W Heitmeyer (eds)Handbook of violence, Kluwer, pp. 679-700.  

Hobbs, D, Winlow, Lister & Hadfield 2003, 'Bouncers and the social context of violence: masculinity, class and violence in the night-time economy', in B Stanko (ed.), The meanings of violence, London, Routledge.

Hobbs, D 2001, 'Deviance and ethnography', in Atkinson, Delamont, Coffey, Lofland & Lofland (eds), The Sage handbook of ethnography, Sage, London, pp. 204-219. 

Hobbs, D 2000, 'Researching organised, white collar and professional crime', in R King & E Wincup (eds), Doing criminological research, Oxford University Press, Oxford. 

Hobbs D & Dunnighan, C 1999, 'Organised crime and the organisation of police intelligence', in P Carlen and R Morgan (eds), Crime unlimited, questions for the 21st century, Macmillan, pp. 57-75. 

Hobbs D & Dunnighan, C 1998, 'Glocal organised crime', in V Ruggiero, N South & I Taylor (eds), The new European criminology, Routledge, London, pp. 289-303. 

Hobbs, D 1997, 'Organised crime and the social order in the UK' in J Borricand (ed.), Les Incidences de la Criminalité Sur L'Ordère Dans Societé, University of Marseille. 

Hobbs, D 1997, 'Criminal collaborations: gangs, youth sub-cultures, professional crime and organised crime', in M Maguire, R Morgan & R Reiner (eds), The Oxford handbook of criminology (2nd ed), Oxford, pp. 801-822. 

Hobbs, D & Armstrong, G 1995, 'Covert policing in Britain: the case of soccer hooliganism', in C Fijnaut & G Marx (eds), Covert policing, Kleur Publishing. 

Hobbs, D & Armstrong, G 1994, 'Tackled from behind: the policing of soccer', in R Giullianotti et al (eds), Football violence and social identity, Routledge. 

Hobbs, D 1994, 'Fathers and sons', in B Stanko (ed.), Just boys doing business, Routledge, pp. 118-134. 

Hobbs, D 1994, 'Organised and professional crime in Britain', in Maguire, Morgan & Reiner (eds), The Oxford handbook of criminology, Oxford University Press. 

Hobbs, D 1994, 'Peers, careers and academic fears', in D Hobbs & T May (eds), Interpreting the field, Oxford University Press. 

Hobbs, D 1991, 'Working class entrepreneurs', in R Burrows (ed.), Small businesses and enterprise culture, Routledge. 

Hobbs, D 1989, 'Policing in the vernacular', in D Downes (ed.), Crime and the city, Macmillan. 

Hobbs, D & Shapland, J 1989, 'Police priorities and the public', in Smith & Morgan (eds), Coming to terms with policing, Tavistock. 

Hobbs, D & Shapland, J 1989, 'Looking at policing', in R Hood (ed.), Crime and criminal justice in Europe, Oxford University Press.  

Selected Refereed Journal Articles

Giulianotti, R, Armstrong, G, Hales, G & Hobbs, R 2015, 'Sport mega-events and public opposition: a sociological study of the London 2012 Olympics', Journal of Sport and Social Issues, vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 99-119.  

Giulianotti, R, Armstrong, G, Hales, G & Hobbs, R 2015, 'Global sport mega-events and the politics of mobility: the case of the London 2012 Olympics', British Journal of Sociology, vol. 66, no. 1, pp. 118-140. 

Hobbs, D & Antonopoulos, GA 2013, Endemic to the species: ordering the 'other' via organised crime, Global Crime, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 27–51. 

Hobbs, D, Fussey, P, Coafee, J, & Armstrong, G 2012, 'The regeneration games: purity and security in the Olympic city', British Journal of Sociology, April/May. 

Hobbs, D, Antonopoulos, GA & Hornsby, R 2011, 'The counterfeit CD/DVD market in the city of Patras, Greece', CIROC Newsletter, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 3-4.  

Hobbs, D, Armstrong & Lindsay 2011, 'Calling the shots: the pre-2012 London Olympic contest, Urban Studies, December. 

Hobbs, D, Antonopoulos, GA & Hornsby, R 2011, 'A soundtrack to (illegal) entrepreneurship: pirated CD/DVD selling in a Greek provincial city, British Journal of Criminology, September. 

Hobbs, D & Mena, F 2010, 'Narcophobia: drugs prohibition and the generation of human rights abuses, Trends in Organised Crime, vol. 13, no. 1. 

Hobbs, D & Hales, G 2010, Drug markets in the community: a London borough case study, Trends in organised crime, vol, 13, no. 1. 

Hobbs, D & Woodiwiss, M 2009, 'Organized evil and the Atlantic alliance: moral panics and the rhetoric of organized crime policing in America and Britain', British Journal of Criminology, January. 

Hobbs, D & Hayward, K 2007, 'Beyond the binge in "booze Britain": liminality, and the spectacle of binge drinking', British Journal of Sociology, September. 

Hobbs, D & Hornsby, R 2007, 'A zone of ambiguity: the political economy of cigarette bootlegging', British Journal of Criminology, June. 

Hobbs, D, O'Brien, K & Westmarland, L 2007, 'Connecting the gendered door: women, violence, and doorwork', British Journal of Sociology, March. 

Hobbs, D, Hadfield, Lister & Winlow 2005, 'Violence and the night-time economy', European Journal of Crime Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, Spring. 

Hobbs, D, Winlow, Hadfield & Lister 2005, 'Violent hypocrisy: post industrialism and the night-time economy', European Journal of Criminology, vol. 2, pp. 161-183. 

Hobbs, D & Pearson, G 2004, 'E is for enterprise: middle market drug markets in ecstasy and stimulants', Addictions. 

Hobbs, D & Pearson, G 2003, 'King-Pin?: A case study of a middle-level drug dealer, Howard Journal,  vol. 42, no. 4, pp. 335-347. 

Hobbs, D, Shover, N, & Coffey, G 2003, 'Crime on the line: telemarketing fraud and professional crime', British Journal of Criminology, vol. 43, pp. 489-505. 

Hobbs, D & Tierney, J 2003, 'Alcohol related crime and disorder data: guidance for local partnerships', Home Office Online Research Report, pp. 1-28. 

Hobbs, D, Hadfield, Lister & Winlow 2002, 'Door lore: the art and economics of intimidation', British Journal of Criminology, vol. 42, no. 2, pp. 352-370. 

Hobbs, D, Hadfield, Lister & Winlow 2001, 'Get ready to duck: bouncers and the realities of ethnographic research on violent groups', British Journal of Criminology, Special Issue: Methodological Dilemmas of Research,  vol. 41, no. 3, pp. 536-548.  

Hobbs, D, Hadfield, Lister & Winlow 2001, 'Accounting for bouncers: occupational licensing as a mechanism for regulation', Criminal Justice, vol, 1, no. 4, pp. 363-384. 

Hobbs, D & Pearson, G 2001, 'Middle market drug distribution', Home Office Research Study 227, HMSO, London. 

Hobbs, D 2001, 'The firm: organised crime on a shifting terrain', British Journal of Criminology, vol. 41, pp. 549-560. 

Hobbs, D, Hall, S, Lister, S & Winlow, S 2000, 'Violence in the night time economy; bouncers: the reporting, recording and prosecution of assaults', Policing and Society, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 383-402. 

Hobbs, D, Winlow, S, Lister, S, Hadfield, P, Hall, S 2000, 'Receiving shadows: governance liminality and the night time economy', British Journal of Sociology, vol. 51, no. 4, pp. 701-717. 

Hobbs, D 1998, 'Going down the glocal: the local context of organised crime', The Howard Journal, Special Issue on organised crime, vol. 37, no. 4., pp. 407-22. 

Hobbs, D 1998, `The aliens are not coming: organised crime as a local problem', International Journal of Risk, Security, and Crime Prevention, vol 3. 

Hobbs, D 1997, 'Professional crime and the myth of the underworld', Sociology, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 57-72. 

Hobbs, D 1994, 'A bit of how's your father' (review article of N Dennis, Rising crime and the dismembered family), Youth and Policy, Winter. 

Hobbs, D 1992, 'White riot or breaking class', Youth and Policy, August. 

Hobbs, D 1992, 'Enterprise culture: a review', Journal of Work and Employment, June. 

Hobbs, D & Robins, D 1991, 'The boy done good: violence and soccer from 1966', Sociological Review, September. 

Hobbs, D 1991, 'A piece of business: the moral economy of detective work in East London', The British Journal of Sociology, October. 

Hobbs, D & Shapland, J 1989, 'Chiefs don't talk about Indians', Policing, vol. 5.

Other Articles

Tomsen, S & Hobbs, D 2017, 'Crime and masculinity in popular culture' (opens in a new window), Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology, DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190264079.013.218.

Official Reports

Hobbs, D, Maguire, M, Noakes, L & Brearley, N 1991, Detective efficiency and effectiveness, final report to the Home Office, May.

Hobbs, D & Dunnighan, C 1996, Organised crime notification survey, report on the NCIS pilot, Home Office, March.

Hobbs, D & Pearson, G 2001, Middle market drug distribution, report to the Home Office, February.

Hobbs, D & Tierney, J 2002, Auditing the impact of alcohol on crime, Home Office, July.

Hobbs, D Tierney, J 2003, 'Alcohol related crime and disorder data: guidance for local partnerships', Home Office online research report, pp. 1-28.

Hobbs, D & Morgan, C 2004, Drug supply in prison, Home Office, May.

Hobbs, D & Hornsby, R 2005, Report on drug trafficking: assessing organised crime.

Hobbs, D, Balcaen, A, Vander Beken, T, van Dijck, M, van Duyne, P, Hornsby, R, von Lampe, K, Markina, A & Verpoest, K 2006, Assessing organised crime by a new common European approach: final report, European Commission, Brussels.

Hobbs, D.  Balcaen, A, Vander Beken, T, van Dijck, M, van Duyne, P, Hornsby, R, von Lampe, K, Markina, A & Verpoest, K 2006, Trafficking in cigarettes in the European Union: European Commission's 6th framework programme report, European Commission, Brussels.

Hobbs, D 2007, Drug trafficking: an industry report, Home Office, (in collaboration with Matrix), November.

^ Back to top

Work in Progress

  • Article: 'Organised crime, rumour and gossip'
  • Article: 'Gangs as threat to the Olympics'
  • Book: Policing the 2012 Olympics
  • Book: Organised crime: a very short introduction (Oxford) 



» Contact Professor Dick Hobbs

^ Back To Top
ICS Website Feedback