On Parapolitics and a New Criminology (Editor's Preface to _The Spectacle of the False Flag_)

[This is  the editor's preface to our newest book on THOUGHT|CRIMES press (imprint of punctum books).  It's called The Spectacle of the False Flag: Parapolitics from JFK to Watergate and it's by Eric Wilson.  Please download it free from our website, or order a print copy here.]

[Cover Image: The Spectacle of the False Flag: Parapolitics from JFK to Watergate]Criminology is a strange discipline. For an area of study focused overwhelmingly, obsessively even, on state activity, criminology has perhaps as much as any social science, outside of psychology, completely and utterly undertheorized the state. The character of the state is largely misunderstood or only slightly understood within criminology (even as the criminology of figures like Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Nicos Poulantzas, who wrote much on law and the state, remain mostly unread by criminologists). Too often the state is simply taken for granted without real critical analysis. It is accepted straightforwardly, unproblematically, as the legitimate social authority, the social arbitrator.

Where critical approaches to the state are pursued there has been a tendency toward instrumentality or uniformity in discussing and explaining state activities. That is, the state is typically portrayed as a rather direct expression of the repressive needs of capital as a whole. And this, again, is the case only in critical approaches in which the state is interrogated or even problematized at all, most criminology taking the state, its legitimacy if not its neutrality, for granted.

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