1st Edition

Talking Criminal Justice Language and the Just Society

By Michael Coyle Copyright 2013
    176 Pages
    by Routledge

    176 Pages
    by Routledge

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    The words we use to talk about justice have an enormous impact on our everyday lives. As the first in-depth, ethnographic study of language, Talking Criminal Justice examines the speech of moral entrepreneurs to illustrate how our justice language encourages social control and punishment.

    This book highlights how public discourse leaders (from both conservative and liberal sides) guide us toward justice solutions that do not align with our collectively professed value of "equal justice for all" through their language habits. This contextualized study of our justice language demonstrates the concealment of intentions with clever language use which mask justice ideologies that differ greatly from our widely espoused justice values.

    By the evidence of our own words Talking Criminal Justice shows that we consistently permit and encourage the construction of people in ways which attribute motives that elicit and empower social control and punishment responses, and that make punitive public policy options acceptable.This book will be of interest to academics, students and professionals concerned with social and criminal justice, language, rhetoric and critical criminology.

    Introduction  1. The Sociology of the Language of Justice  2. A History of Language of Justice Research  3. The Meaning of "Tough on Crime"  4. An Ethnography of "Innocent Victim" language  5. Delineating the "Evil" "Criminal" Other  6. Talking Justice: Interviews with Justice Workers  7. Language of Justice as Critical Criminology.


    Michael J. Coyle is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science at California State University, USA.

    Talking Criminal Justice makes an exciting new contribution to a critical criminological understanding of crime, law, and social control.

    Walter DeKeseredy, Professor of Criminology at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), USA.

    Michael Coyle makes a plain and compelling case that talking about getting "tough on crime" implies support for "criminal justice" that is inherently unjust. You can't read this book without watching the way you talk about crime and justice and noticing how others do. That's something even we who call ourselves critical criminologists all too often overlook.

    Hal Pepinsky, Professor Emeritus, Indiana University, USA

    Michael J. Coyle provides a model for empirically-informed inquiry into the meaning, construction, and consequences of employing the concept "justice," including the oft used "victim." This paradigm shifting analysis affirms the value of critical qualitative media analysis for examining burning theoretical and practical issues. I welcome this tour de force.

    David L. Altheide, Emeritus Regents' Professor, Arizona State University, USA