Political leaders and the popular press tell us that society is in the grip of a moral crisis. ‘Where have our values gone?’ our newspapers scream at us. ‘Benefit scroungers’, ‘greedy bankers’, ‘intrusive journalists’, ‘have-a-go rioters’, political scandals and criminals of all shapes and sizes are continually cited as evidence that we live in a modern-day Gomorrah. Criminologists have studied this in several ways, including: media representations of crime, mass incarceration, hooliganism and the exercise of power and control through communities.
What criminologists have not studied is the place of morality in shaping public debate about understanding crime and how this then shapes crime control strategies. Rather than dismiss statements about community breakdown, ‘broken society’ and irresponsibility as ideological, self-justificatory rhetoric, what happens when we take these claims seriously? What do they tell us about the causes of crime? How do they shape the crime control agenda? How else might we begin to understand and explain the relationship between crime and society?
Navigating between criminological concerns about control and governance and social theories about culture and identity, this book explores what is meant by crime, community and morality and puts this meaning to the test. Discussion of a new theory of rule-breaking, combined with an analysis of how our justice system is becoming maladapted, makes this essential reading for criminologists around the globe, as well as those general readers interested in the causes of crime.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1. Crime and the Community 2. Punishment and the Community 3. Community, Ideology and Utopia 4. The Politics of Moral Degeneration 5. Getting a Sense of Community 6. Late-modernity, Insecurity and Identity 7. Community, or Intimacy? Conclusion.
Simon Green is a Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Hull. He teaches and researches in the areas of restorative justice, crime and politics, criminological theory and reducing reoffending.
‘In Crime, Community and Morality Simon Green offers a searching and searing critical examination of discourses about moral decline and loss of community – discourses that have decisively shaped the direction taken by criminal justice and crime control policies in recent decades. In place of this exhausted paradigm, Green offers a nuanced and theoretically rich account of the role that morality and emotions play in our responses to crime, and points the way towards a new and different language of crime control that speaks to our post-traditional age. Essential reading for criminologists and for all those concerned with the future of criminal justice.’ - Professor Majid Yar, University of Hull, UK
‘Over the last few decades "community decline" (variously defined) has been deployed as a catch-all explanation for crime, immorality, and a fast-diminishing sense of social responsibility. Typically, these accounts either slather the concept of community with a revanchist moral agenda, or worse still, entirely misunderstand how communities function and thus how they might serve as a locus of crime control or order maintenance. Simon Green’s new book provides an excellent and much-needed corrective to this long history of mischaracterization and confusion. Clear-sighted, crisply written and theoretically accessible, it drives a coach and horses through existing thinking in this area, and by doing so kick-starts the debate about how to re-theorize the community-crime link for the twenty-first century.’ - Professor Keith Hayward, University of Kent, UK
‘This is a timely and significant text. Green's work is particularly praiseworthy for its scholarly and accessible coverage of the all too often neglected significance of the moral and political debate around community and crime for students of criminology. In particular, the text provides us with a comprehensive synthesis of existing scholarship arising out of the encounters between social science and moral and political philosophy. All in all it is a pleasing antidote to the all too prevalent narrow, "administrative" conceptions of the contemporary criminological enterprise.’ - Gordon Hughes, Chair in Criminology, Cardiff University, UK