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Contemporary criminology inhabits a rapidly changing world. The speed and profundity of these changes are echoed in the rapidly developing character of criminology's subject-matter, whether it is crime rates, crime policy, or the practices of policing, prevention and punishment. The questions that animate this book concern the challenges that are posed for criminology by the economic, cultural, and political transformations that have marked late twentieth-century social life. In this unique collection of essays, a diverse group of distinguished social theorists reflect upon the intellectual challenges and opportunities presented to criminology by recent transformations in the social and intellectual landscapes of contemporary societies. As each essay in its different way reveals, crime and punishment have ceased to be topics that can be contained within the bounds of any specialized discipline. Crime and punishment now play such integral roles in the politics of contemporary societies, are so densely entangled with our daily routines, so deeply lodged in our emotional lives, so vividly represented in our cultural imagination, that they easily escape any analytical box, however capacious, that criminology may develop for their containment. Several of the most persuasive sociological accounts of the present give a prominent place in their analysis to crime, fear of crime, and the calculations of risk and measures of repression to which these give rise. This collection offers a series of powerful and provocative accounts of how crime and its control mesh with the underlying social and political dynamics shaping contemporary society. It raises a series of profound questions about the political and ethical frames through which these problems ought best to be governed.
Oxford University Press
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