In the immediate aftermath of the Cold War, organized crime was branded as the major threat to human security in the twenty-first century. As politicians, “securocrats” and practitioners geared up to deal with the newly identi- fied threat to world peace, the events of 9/11 turned the world’s attention to terrorism. While terrorism in its various permutations continues to dominate security agendas, the harmful effects of organized crime on human security, economic development and political governance are equal- ly concerning. In fact, organized crime and illegal markets are an absorbing area of study for economic sociologists. But why should economic sociologists research a phenom- enon that has been clearly identified as a security issue? What are the weaknesses in current theoretical thinking about organized crime and how can economic sociology contribute theory as well as policy to current debates? The following article touches on recent conceptual work done in the Illegal Markets research group of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG) and provides ideas for nuanced research that tackles organized crime as an actor in both legal and illegal supply markets.