Professor Dick Hobbs joins Laurie Taylor to discuss his work on 'Lush Life', a rich, ethnographic study into 'Dogtown', a composite of several overlapping neighbourhoods in East London.

Looking behind the clichéd notions of criminal firms and underworlds, he finds that activity which was once the preserve of professional criminals has now been normalised.

He invites us to consider whether or not the very idea of organised crime has become outdated in a predatory, post industrial world in which many fight, by illegal as well as legal means, to survive on the margins.

Also, the presence and activities of the Mafia in the UK with Dr Felia Allum, a Lecturer in Italian history and politics, discussing how Italian organised crime functions outside its territory of origin.

Below, read an article from the OU's Geoff Andrews on a writer whose books depict the Italian mafia as well as more related content and free learning.

Thinking Allowed is on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesdays at 4.00pm and repeated on Monday mornings at 12.15am. Full transmission details, and listen again links, can be found on bbc.co.uk