Understanding Criminology: Current Theoretical Debates

By Sandra Walklate | Go to book overview

chapter six
Crime, politics and welfare

Understanding the welfare state

Why it is important to understand the relationship between the

citizen and the state New Labour, new policies? Young people and crime Young people, crime and antisocial behaviour Conclusion: questions for criminology Further reading

So far this text has evidenced some of the key theoretical developments that have occurred in criminology over the last two decades. In the course of reviewing those theoretical strands, it has been shown that it is possible to forge different links between them and the world of politics. In other words, as theories, they may lend themselves to different uses and interpretations by those occupying the political domain. The question remains, however, as to what kind of relationship might exist between events in the political domain and the formation of an agenda for criminology. In this chapter, then, we shall be concerned to contextualize the possibilities for a criminological agenda by mapping the interconnections between criminology, criminal justice and social justice. But why make these connections?

Principles of social justice are fundamental to the organization of any society. An appreciation of the way in which any particular society believes rewards and punishments should be distributed reveals much about the fundamental (taken-for-granted) features of that society. Moreover, there are different ways in which such an appreciation might be developed. However, as Cook (2006: 30) cogently argues the relationship between criminal justice and social justice in fostering social inclusion or exclusion (mainly contemporarily exclusion) is crucial for four reasons. First, the criminal justice system by definition, renders the 'deviant' as the 'other', that is outside of the processes of inclusion. Second, much antisocial

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