City Limits contributes to a growing body of work under the umbrella of 'cultural criminology', which attempts to bring an appreciation of cultural change to an understanding of crime in late modernity (Hayward and Young 2004). Hayward presents an ambitious theoretical analysis that attempts to inspire a 'cultural approach' to understanding the 'crime-city nexus' and, in particular, to re-address 'strain' and the concept of 'relative deprivation' in the context of a culture of consumption.
The book incorporates an impressive array of literature from beyond the boundaries of traditional criminology - including urban studies, social theory and, most strikingly, from art and architectural criticism - illustrating a multidisciplinary approach. This provides for a challenging and enlightening read, with a particularly important emphasis on the impact of consumer culture on the lived urban experience and spatial dynamics of the city and, in turn, for an understanding of transgression and criminality.
Runner-up for the British Society of Criminology Book Prize (2004).