Simply Criminology

The Postmodern Turn in Criminology

Much of contemporary criminology remains bound to concepts and perspectives developed and framed in relation to conditions of modernity (even the emergence of modernity) and the structures, institutions, and processes of modernism. Among these concepts are rationality (rational choice and rational calculation), progress, and enlightenment—deterrence and correctivity.

The modernist criminologies remain dependent on instituted authorities and their organizations—police, courts, correctional facilities, legislatures—for definitions and understandings of crime, criminality, and responses to crime. Processes associated with liberal democratic governance are viewed as proper (and privileged) means for adjudicating social norms and responses to violations of norms. Agencies of the police, courts, and corrections are viewed as the legitimate institutions for the pursuit of—the realization of—“criminal justice.”

Radical Realism

[First published Fall 2014, for the blog, Simply Criminology.]

Realism is generally defined, in a broad sense, as a concern with or interest in the so-called actual or real rather than the abstract or speculative. It is a tendency to view affairs or events supposedly “as they are” rather than as we would like them to be. This is typically contrasted with idealist (or utopian or radical) that are accused of forgoing a focus on everyday life “as it is” and instead focusing on abstract visions of a world imagined or yet to come.

Lombroso’s Anarchy Problem

[by Jeff Shantz, Fall 2014, as appeared in the Simply Criminology blog]

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