IN PRAISE OF DANGEROUS THOUGHTS

IN PRAISE OF DANGEROUS THOUGHTS: A REVIEW ESSAY

 

CRIMINOLOGY AND SOCIAL THEORY

(eds.) D Garland and R Sparks

Oxford: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0-19-829942-7

 

 

David Downes once famously remarked that criminology is a 'rendezvous discipline' - it is a subject where other disciplines meet and its very liveliness and, at its best, intellectual interest is because of this position on the busy crossroads of sociology, psychology, law, and philosophy. Criminology cannot exist separately from social theory, it is inevitably concerned with the central problems of social order and disorder. Once glance at the classic texts: Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Merton, The Chicago School and the symbolic interactionists shows the shared canon with sociology. What is distinctive about criminology is not its knowledge base but its formal focus: on the origins of crime, on criminal law and on the interaction between the offender and the law - and latterly the victim. Suffice it to say that all the main social theorists engage with at least some part of this problematic - the major exemplar is, of course, Durkheim - and that not only does criminology need social theory but social theory has been manifestly and frequently concerned with crime, disorder and regulation. Yet there is the ever-present tendency in contemporary work, particularly in the burgeoning administrative criminology, to cast adrift from grand theory to write as if a theory of the social order, the State and political economy were no concern to the jobbing criminologist. This text sets out to help place theory back into its key role particularly with regards to contemporary theory and in relationship to the wide changes engendered by late modernity.

David Garland and Richard Sparks in a far reaching and thoughtful introductory essay set out to analyse the impact of late modernity on criminology, their central thesis being that the world today is no longer the same as that which faced the modernist criminology which developed during the first two thirds of the twentieth century. According to their analysis modern criminology was a discourse which emerged around the penal - welfare complex. It was hegemonic in its influence, individualistic in its focus, and relatively autonomous from wider currents of social thought. Its aim was the social engineering of the maladjusted individual into the ranks of the law abiding majority - it was a discourse of inclusion. It presented a progressive narrative of modern times, as reform followed reform and the rehabilitative ideal of the criminologist influenced politicians and public policy. All of this came awry in the last third of the twentieth century where a series of factors: the normalisation of crime, the emergence of a risk society, the decline of social democratic politics, the identification of the criminal justice system as only one part of the crime control system, and the revival of private policing and commercialised security, all served to tip the criminology of modernism from its privileged place. The first sign of this shift was the emergence in the 1970s of a critical criminology which turned for inspiration to - another modernity - the classic sociology of modernism - Durkheim, Marx, Mead and Simmel - and which for a "moment" connected crime with politics and the wider social world. But, "the moment did not last long" (p.14) and whilst modern criminology became decoupled from power, at the same time the new theoretical criminology continued only as a subordinate and muted voice. The new situation presenting criminology today is to be merely one voice amongst the many talking about crime and the realisation that its own rationality and the public rationales for policing, punishment and control are irrevocably rendered asunder.

I have great difficulty with this account. It is absolutely true that an applied criminology, pragmatic, empiricist and parochial developed in Britain in the period up to the 1970s. it is also correct that such an a-theoretical criminology was deeply intertwined in the criminal justice system and the politics of the time and to this extent had influence. But it is important to stress how such a criminology was cut off from developments in the rest of the world (particularly the U.S.) had an extraordinary level of amnesia about the past and, most importantly, was severely intellectually inadequate. The developments in the last third of the twentieth century were not momentary, rather they transformed the criminological canon, they involved no sense of decline but rather the reconnection of British criminology into the main corpus of modernist thinking on crime and regulation. This reconnection with sociology had dramatic implications for criminological thought. The first was the realisation that the criminal justice system was not the central agency of social control. Work, the family, the mass media, psychiatry, medicine, etc. - all of the institutions of society contributed to social order. The criminal justice system was only one part of the process, itself dependent on civil society and was, in fact, frequently counterproductive in its contribution. The second was a move away from the analytical individualism of positivism and classicism and an awareness of the interplay between structure and agency. Individual actors were constructed socially, society was constructed by individuals: neo-classicist criminology with its rational actors and positivistic atoms was superseded - not only was the role of the criminal justice system decentred but the ideas surrounding it exposed as being intellectually flawed. The text which heralded British criminology's coming of age was Herman Mannheim's remarkable two volume Comparative Criminology published in 1965, in which he draws heavily from the flourishing American sociology of crime and deviance and begins the reconnection with classical sociology. It is here that he notes: "that it should be clear that nothing fundamental can be achieved without the investigation of the deep-seated causes [of crime]" and critiques current thinking about crime: "It is in line with this self-abdicating policy that so much modern criminological writing in this country has, on the whole, kept meticulously aloof from 'dangerous thoughts'." (1965, p.428). These dangerous thoughts went beyond the immediate and the pragmatic and linked crime and penality to the deep structure of society evoking readily the whole panoply of modernist social theory from Durkheim, Weber, Marx, Simmel and Mead to the burgeoning new subcultural and labelling theories of the United States. The textbooks changed from The New Criminology onwards and feeding back to the US in, for example, the later editions of Vold and Sutherland. Therein a modernist narrative of progress became de rigeur, starting at classicism, then going on to the positivist revolution and proceeding to the "new" sociologies of crime became, and remains, the standard canon of the criminological text. To this extent the authors' depiction of the post-1970s as somehow a loss or a disarray seems singularly inappropriate. Indeed criminology in the third part of the twentieth century developed remarkably. What is distinctively late modern, however, is the plurality of narrative - for all of the paradigms from dyed in the wool biological positivism to gushing post-modernism now co-exist - there is no agreed sequence called progress. Furthermore, and here Garland and Sparks are correct, there is a blurring of boundaries, criminology exists outside of the talk of criminologists. But this, of course, is all for the good - for criminology, whatever it is, is a focus on the nature of crime, regulation and their interaction it is not and can never be a substantive subject in its own right.

Let us turn to their next claim - the loss of power. This revolves around Radzinowicz's thesis (1999) that the gulf between theory and practice, between criminology and policy, was once close and is now widening. This is obviously wrong: for example, on the right, Wilson and Kelling, Charles Murray, John Dilulio, have obvious and direct influences on policy. Indeed much of New Labour's law and order agenda is constituted by James Q Wilson (some quotes from Blair look like transcripts of Thinking About Crime) whilst Charles Murray's singular interpretation of the underclass debate has clearly influenced their key concept of "social exclusion" (Young, forthcoming). As far as more liberal criminology is concerned, notions of repeat victimisation, restorative justice and situational crime prevention have large and worldwide political followings. It would be difficult to think of a period where criminology had a greater influence. All that can be said is that a particular political agenda of rehabilitation, sentence reform and the reduction of imprisonment has been in decline but this, as the authors acknowledge, is merely the result of changes in the wider political sphere.

I have dwelt at some length on the introductory essay, because of its significance. Let us turn now to the contributions. A key thread running through many of these articles is the Foucauldian concept of governmentality (1991) and its implications for contemporary systems of regulation. Closely linked to this is the new problematic of criminology in the last decade. Namely the answer to three closely related questions: 1. Why the vast increase in the correctional population - the punitive turn? 2. Why the proliferation of agencies dealing with crime and incivilities? 3. Why the contradictory nature of these responses? The punitiveness, proliferation and contradictions of the control system, that is aspects of the rise in punishment, have become the focus for contemporary criminological analysis just as the rise in crime was the focus of criminology from the sixties to the eighties.

One of the first essays in the collection is by John Braithwaite, a distinguished example of an influential criminologist. His work on shaming and restorative justice alone has extremely wide currency. The lamp posts of my home borough of Hackney in London are regaled with posters attempting to shame street robbers - campaigns which were designed by Council officers schooled in criminology, and acutely aware of his work. Braithwaite traces a line of development of the State from the nightwatchman State of nineteenth century liberalism to the Keynsian State of the post-war period to what he calls The New Regulatory State (NRS). The characteristics of the NRS and its incipient development are shared by a wide range of contemporary writers on neo-liberalism and governmentality. The NRS involves the decentring of the State - its 'hollowing out' - rule at a distance, the empowerment of the community and the responsibilisation of the citizen. Whereas the nightwatchman State left the steering and the rowing to civil society, the Keynsian State attempted to row yet was weak on steering, the NRS - as the name suggests, leaves the rowing to civil society and concentrates on the steering. Within the criminal justice system indicative developments include the rapid rise and ascendancy of private policing and security, the burgeoning of private prisons, the privatisation of ancillary work and the development of restorative justice which in Braithwaite's estimation is the epitome of the NRS.

Braithwaite's advocacy of the NRS rests, firstly, on the work of Clifford Shearing and behind that what he calls "the Hayekian Vision". Hayek's insight was that as economics became more and more complex the central State could no longer acquire the local knowledge to intervene effectively. Hence he emphasised the superiority of the market as a provider of both knowledge of demand and effective service delivery. Shearing applies this concept of the superiority of local knowledge from the market place to the criminal justice system arguing for the empowerment of local communities. He rejects, however, a market solution to security because of the palpable economic inequalities in society. Rather his imaginative solution is the provision of policing budgets rather than a central state police budget and a disputing budget rather than a court budget. Thus centralised control becomes devolved to community tendering for crime control budgets and community based restorative justice schemes replace the retributive policies of the State.

Whatever truth there is in the free market's ability to solve the problems of complex societies and there are, of course, numerous arguments against, the transposition of such ideas to the criminal justice system has several grave problems. The first is the limits of local knowledge in terms of both pinpointing problems and providing effective service delivery. Local consultation, surveys and debate are an essential exercise and undoubtedly a democratic gain. But the simple reflection of public opinion would be unwise both in terms of pinpointing problems and advocating solutions. To take an extreme but all too real example: the inhabitants of a council estate may loudly announce that their prime problem is a solitary paedophile who threatens their community. Further, in diverse communities, there will be intense conflict over what are the problems, indeed some parts of the community may problematise other parts. As far as service delivery is concerned it may well be that the local community are more punitive than the State officials (see Stenson and Edwards, 2001) whilst intense levels of internecine conflict over the prescribed solution may occur (Crawford, 1998). Furthermore, localisation does not necessitate either efficiency or efficacy. Locally, democratically elected authorities with considerably devolved budgets can well be startlingly inefficient. Their ideas of effective intervention can be based on false notions of the nature of crime and other problems and even where effective can merely result in the displacement of a problem to an adjacent locality. Finally, it can be argued that we do not want, whether it is in South Africa or Northern Ireland (two of the areas where policing budgets were under consideration) to reinforce community divides but to dissolve such binaries and differences (see Stenson, 1998). All of these objectives suggest the need for a State which does not project upon but debates with the local yet an authority where the universalistic values of liberty, equality and tolerance in the last analysis predominate over particularism and parochialism.

But let us turn now from the normative to the descriptive. Has the shift to the NRS occurred in the area of criminal justice? Strangely Braithwaite, having heralded the advent of the new paradigm, candidly admits that however this is true say of telecommunications or the provision of services for the mentally ill, this is not true in the area of the criminal justice system. In this instance, the punitive State has, of course, remarkably expanded both in number of coercive State personnel and in public expenditure. What we have seen is expansion of the centralised criminal justice system coupled with an expansion of decentred, distanced institutions of social control which in turn are subject to intricate - sometimes Byzantine - regulatory mechanisms. One should note at this point that the concept of the exceptionalism of the criminal justice system when compared to the other centralised State institutions is a fallacy. It is not true of defence, as he admits: the war against crime, drugs and now terrorism blurs the distinctions between the police and the military just as it bloats their budgets. But as Paul Hirst indicates in an article later on in the book, government expenditure on traditional welfare institutions whether in the US or Europe has not shrunk, indeed it has increased - witness the present British government debate on health and education. Hardly a hollowing out of the State. What has occurred in the majority of these Keynsian institutions is a consolidation and sometimes expansion of the centre coupled with a parallel expansion of government at a distance frequently in the form of locally based partnerships. With regards to these partnerships, government at a distance may be their intention but this is not in most cases a devolution of power - central government keeps the local on a tight, if sometimes long, leash and the regulatory State involves intricate, intensive and expensive bureaucracies which impact onerously on all our lives. For, as Paul Hirst argues in this volume: "Government ceases to be limited it is everywhere, despite all the talk of the 'retreat of the state'." (p.132). There has been, as Kevin Stenson (1998) has pointed out, a curious neglect in governmentality studies of this regulation and the parasitic 'new class' which thrives upon it.

Overall Braithwaite would advocate a NRS which lost much of its punitive centre but he has some significant caveats. A strong central Keynsian State needs to remain in place, he argues, in order to provide an economy capable of underwriting the welfare services necessary for successful restorative justice programmes, in order to help eliminate unemployment (an echo of Braithwaite's early work), to fund disputing budgets and to continue a reduced criminal justice system to deal with the need for coercive power. Such a programme begins to look like a radicalised version of Third Way politics and it is a pity and a surprise that in this opening out of criminology to outside literature that the lengthy debate in this area is not referred to or acknowledged.

Paul Hirst's piece on 'Statism, Pluralism and social Control' starts from the same premise as Braithwaite, namely the rise of the regulatory State, in order to tackle the difficulties of social control in more and more complex and heterogeneous societies, but comes to strikingly different conclusions. On the one side there has arisen in Western societies a greater level of heterogeneity and individualisation, on the other a new class of regulators who by audit and surveillance, and the power of discretionary funding, attempt to impose standardised norms. The result is a new regulatory State in which government rather than retracting becomes ubiquitous and because of the increased complexity and contradictions of the regulatory norms ultimately discretionary and arbitrary in its powers. Hirst's suggestions to overcome this 'crisis in the relationship between state and society' is radical: an 'associative democracy', a system where the presently non-accountable areas of governance from the corporations through to public agencies are made accountable directly to the citizens whose interests they affect, and by the setting of decentralised and democratic norms which reflect the various 'communities of choice' which exist in a modern heterogeneous society. Thus his solution is local, like Braithwaite, and he likewise would keep the core institutions of the State whose function it is to set minimum values, inhibit serious conflict between the communities and maintain welfare funds. But he would combat the overextended regulatory State. His stress on community is reminiscent of Etzioni's (1997) communitarianism, but he differs in that he will only acknowledge or advocate a 'thin' common morality and does not seek to remoralise society by encouraging the development of a 'thick' common moral framework.

The fundamental flaw in Hirst's formulation is his notion of the 'communities of choice' which he sees as characteristic of late modern society. Thus he views the city as being inhabited by communities of distinctly different values (eg Born Again Christians and gays) the members of which would seldom agree with each other and who, therefore, would best exist as plural groups each with their own rules. In some cases this will involve separate zones, in others extra-territoriality: shared space but within the parallel existence of self-governing communities, inhabiting the same space but applying their own rules. His advocacy of separate communities is quite strident, for example, that of Christian fundamentalists, gay villages, and the anarchist enclave of Christiana in Copenhagen. "Imagine", he asks us: "cities clearly divided into permissive and restrictive zones with regards to drug use. Imagine if the rich can live in gated communities with security guards, that the metaphorical 'ghettos' of the USA became like real ones, with their own boundaries and their own local policing. Tell that to the LAPD? But the cost of their rule is immense, including the cost of riots, and its results ineffective." (p.143)

My feeling is that this formulation is sociologically incorrect and politically dangerous. The great achievement of the late modern city, however unintended, is the combination of a diverse population living in close propinquity. That is multi-cultural societies living admixed in the same area where people encounter as a daily presence the differences which make urban life so enjoyable, exciting and intriguing. The great danger, however, is that of intemperate behaviour toward others: prejudice, bigotry and group hatred (see I. Young, 1990). What is essential is common, universalistic regulatory norms which proscribe intolerance and which prescribe equal treatment despite difference. Indeed, as Todd Gitlin (1995) has pointed out, this is exactly embodied in the ideals of the Enlightenment and is undermined by the notion of a multiculturalism of separate standards and values. Yet Hirst's concept of co-territoriality with differing regulatory standards advocates precisely this, whilst his notion of separate policing and regulatory communities would create even greater difficulties. Social segregation, as Loic Wacquant (1996) has pointed out, is not characteristic of the great cities of Europe but where it occurs be it in Belfast, Derry, Oldham or Bradford it generates intense conflict. Correspondingly in the United States the racial segregation of Atlanta, Philadelphia or Chicago or the wilful class segregation so well documented by Mike Davis in The City of Quartz (1990) are a blight on the social landscape. Housing segregation, single faith schools, communities which set themselves up as territories distinct from each other - all of which Hirst advocates - will not on the evidence increase social harmony but the reverse.

Social differentiation in late modernity is shaped by two somewhat contradictory forces: cultural globalisation which narrows differences and individualisation, which as Hirst correctly surmises, increases differentiation. The resulting impact, by and large, is a narrowing of major differences whilst a heightening of minor ones. There is greater shared values and interconnectedness yet a myriad of minor cultural variation. As critics of Hirst's concept of pluralism in the area of welfare choice and provision have pointed out, whatever the heterogeneity of modern liberal societies there is a broad consensus with regards to the vast majority of basic needs (Stears, 1999). There is one proviso to this which, rather than shoring up Hirst's argument, further undermines it. That is the impact of cultural globalisation can, particularly where combined with economic deprivation, result in widespread ontological crises. Such threats to identity are often combated by groups essentialising themselves, that is of 'discovering' hidden essences or traditions which separate them out from those who despise or denigrate them. Fundamentalism, nationalism, the construction of 'hard core' identity around ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender, can lead to a separation which magnifies differences. These cultural projects are, of course, prime candidates for the communities of 'choice' which Hirst extols. Yet such fundamentalism not only sets out to create a world of major differences but sets itself up both as a source and a target of inter-group hatred and anxiety. To view human choice unfettered by big government as leading to social harmony is the illusion of the libertarian, once again Hirst, like Braithwaite, privileges the local and has a virtuous concept of human agency, untrammelled by state intervention.

When we turn to the article by Nikolas Rose we have once more an emphasis on the shift in late modernity (or 'advanced liberalism' as he calls it), from the national to the local as the locus of social control. But whereas for Braithwaite and Hirst such a shift offers great advantages, for Rose it further ratchets up the iron cage of social control. He argues against the rigid division between the State and civil society where power lies within the State and civil society is the subject of control. Rather power permeates throughout society, social control is not centralised but is decentralised and rhizomatic. He rejects the notion of a maximum security or panoptical State - and stresses the role of the array of institutions in society "where the criminal justice system itself plays a minor role in control practices" (p.187). Let me say at this juncture that Rose at times seems to suffer what Sorokin once termed the 'discovery complex' - he discovers and claims as Foucauldian insights things which are of no surprise to any sociologist. His location of dispersed circuits of power in civil society verges on the obvious, indeed it is difficult to think what orthodoxy he is debunking (see Garland, 1997). It is certainly not Marxism - or maybe it is the aberrant Marxism of Mao - for Marx himself had no doubt that the core institutions of control existed within civil society. The only traditions which place the criminal justice system in such a central and privileged position are anarchism (critically) and (enthusiastically) the neo-classicist criminology of the immediate post-war years depicted by Garland and Sparks in their introduction. This being said, his depiction of a dispersed system of power manifestly ignores the fact that State powers have considerably increased and that certain forms of contemporary politics would seek to actively regulate and orchestrate wider and wider sections of civil society. The Foucauldians in their rush to bid farewell to the Keynsian State with its patronising attitude to its citizens (see, for example, O'Malley and Palmer, 1996) forget that political interventions such as that of New Labour have manifestly set up a wider network of regulatory bodies and regularly see fit to issue guidelines to all and sundry, such as advice to parents on bedtimes for their children, the appropriate age to have children, the amount of nightly homework etc.

As I outlined at the beginning of this essay, the three questions which the recent transformation of the criminal justice system poses are that of punitiveness, proliferation and contradiction. The task which Nikolas Rose sets himself is to explain the latter: why zero-tolerance policing goes hand in hand with neighbourhood policing, why prison incapacitation occurs at the same time as rehabilitation, why 'three strikes and you're out' is paralleled by restorative justice schemes. First let us note that the very existence of such contradictions is seen as a problem. I am not suggesting here that we should not explain the source of such contradictions but rather I am puzzled by the idea that one should expect a high degree of consistency or coherence within society. Many theorists, of course, from Marx to Merton to Habermas have pointed to contradictions within the social system as being characteristic of advanced capitalism. Rose could quite easily source these contradictions in his depiction of social control as a myriad of decentred circuits. But he chooses not to do so. Indeed, he rather surprisingly claims that despite "their apparent complexity and heterogeneity, contemporary control strategies do show a certain strategic coherence" (p.187). Out of such a decentred mass of control decisions emerges common strategies and purpose. The task then is to display the coherence of these strategies, that is of the non-contradictory nature of the apparent contradiction and he does so by dividing them into two 'families': those that seek to regulate conduct by enmeshing individuals within circuits of inclusion and those that seek to control by managing circuits of exclusion. The co-existence of both inclusive and exclusive moments in society dependent on the institutions involved and the individuals being controlled has, of course, a long lineage. Witness for example, the work of David Cooper (1967), Stan Cohen (1985) and Zygmunt Bauman (1995), but none of this is referred to in the text. His division between those who are the subjects of inclusion or exclusion revolves around the usual one of the normal citizen and the deviant. His explanation of such strategies of control seems to rely, as so often in these accounts, on a foreground of intricate description backed by an implicitly functionalist background. As with all functionalist explanations it assumes a social system with too great a coherence and that pointing out a supposed function implies a satisfactory and sufficient explanation. 'Advanced Liberalism' becomes a category which describes the ethos of all advanced capitalist societies which follows with some imminent logic from the social order which preceded it and which hangs together in an almost intentionalist fashion (see Pearce and Dupont, 2001). Further, the actual differences between the policies of different governments is ignored; compare for example the overtly exclusionist policies of Thatcher's Conservatism with the centrality of inclusionist policies for New Labour (see Garland, 2001). In this terrain there are no actors creating meaning and praxis in the material circumstances in which they find themselves, rather there are functional discourses which mould human subjectivity.

I am aware of the various interpretations and tendencies within Foucault's work, but Rose would seem to drive off from the most bleak vision. What Marshall Berman trenchantly referred to as

"an endless, excruciating series of variations on the Weberian themes of the iron cage and the human nullities whose souls are shaped to fit the bars. Foucault is obsessed with prisons, hospitals, asylums, with what Erving Goffman has called 'total institutions'. Unlike Goffman, however, Foucault denies the possibility of any sort of freedom outside these institutions or within their interstices. Foucault's totalities swallow up every facet of modern life. he develops these themes with obsessive relentlessness and, indeed, with sadistic flourishes, clamping his ideas down on his readers like iron bars twisting each dialectic into our flesh like a new turn of the screw." (1983, p.34).

What has happened to Mannheim's 'dangerous thoughts': the connecting up of crime and penality to the deep structural inequalities of wealth and power? Strangely, crime itself is rarely considered in this volume - there is an interesting article by Maureen Cain which warns us of Occidentalist errors in comparative research but the only discussion of crime is a brief mention in John Braithwaite's article echoing his earlier work on inequality and crime. This is perhaps to be expected given the shift in the attention of contemporary criminologists from crime to the reaction to crime, but I feel this is something of a loss. Firstly, it disregards the important radical tradition (central for example to Merton and subcultural theory) which links crime to the deep contradictions of structure and culture. Secondly, because it is an inadequate criminology which ignores crime itself - as this is obviously a key part of the explanatory equation. It is, as David Garland pointed out at a recent conference, like trying to describe a room without mentioning the large elephant that is sitting there! It goes without saying that the decentring of the criminal justice system both in theory and in practice, the rise of theories concerned with the social control aspects of civil society and the stress on multi-agency, the family and the citizen in late modern crime control policies, are all intimately connected with the massive rise in crime experienced in so many industrial societies in the post-war period. This is not, for a moment, to say that they are reducible to a reflex of the level of crime, but as was indicated a while back the realisation that the reality of crime control had always resided within civil society and the attempt to organise these influences were considerably shaped by the, until recently, seemingly inexorable rise in crime and disorder, which severely tested both criminological theory and the resources of the criminal justice system. (see Young, 1992).

The lack of focus on crime abnegates any contest with establishment criminology which puts considerable effort into constantly attempting to explain crime in terms of a failure of individuals, families or community as if these were entities autonomous of political economy - anything but the extraordinary divisions of wealth, power and recognition which occur within society (see Wacquant, 1999). This is as true of, for example, the social exclusion discourse surrounding New Labour's policies on crime and disorder as it was when Herman Mannheim railed against the fundamental presuppositions of the White Paper, Penal Practice in a Changing Society (1959) and its avoidance of 'dangerous thoughts'. A critical criminology which does not deal with crime loses both its explanatory powers and a great deal of its critical edge. This being said, the articles in this collection do attempt to relate penality to structure although in perhaps a little too functionalist a fashion for my taste. The exception is Dario Melossi's brilliant essay which explores his development of the themes of Kai Erikson and George Rusche which has been so much part of his recent intellectual work.

What of the widening out of influence, the reconnecting with social theory? Here the collection comes into its own with a great variety of influences from Hayek to Said, brought to bear on criminological theory. Of great interest here is Zygmunt Bauman's powerful piece where the arch-bricoleur draws inspiration from Gregory Bateson and Milan Kundera but most significantly - and ironically unlike the criminologists in this volume (with the exception of Melossi) - from his debate with criminology. Namely with the Scandinavian criminologies of Mathieson and Christie and the American prison theory of Clemmer, McCorkle, Korn and Sellin.

It is vital that, in a desire to connect criminology up to a wider social theory, we do not have an amnesia with regards to the rich past of the discipline. Further the act of reconnection with the modernist discourse within sociology which occurred, as Garland and Sparks outlined, in the seventies must be widened out and developed. The major texts of modernity carry with them what I would call a harbinger quality. That is they sense in the pace of change of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, a prescience of what was to happen in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. This is most marked in Marx's Communist Manifesto, much of which rings so true in this age of economic and cultural globalisation, as it does in the closing chapter of Durkheim's Division of Labour, it is quite clearly present in Georg Simmel's depiction of urbanism and depressingly relevant in the Weberian notion of the iron cage of rules and regulations. These texts, together with the exciting contemporary developments in radical philosophy, politics and cultural studies, must inform us. If I have been critical in this essay, it is because I have found this collection so thought provoking and challenging. This is a book which deserves a wide audience: its wealth of debate demonstrates, far from the death of criminology, its manifest flourishing.

JOCK YOUNG

December, 2001

Revised Version

 

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