Understanding Crime Prevention: Social Control, Risk, and Late Modernity

By Gordon Hughes | Go to book overview

chapter two
Classicism and the deterrent presences of the modern state
Introduction
The first school of criminology?
Excursus on pre-modern crime control
The classical theory of crime prevention
A new governance of crime
Deterrent presences of the nineteenth-century state
Critical appraisal of classicist crime prevention
Summary
Further reading

Introduction

In this chapter I introduce what is generally viewed as the first explicit school of criminology, namely classicism. In the examination of this 'criminological formation', I will first outline the historical context in which the classical school of criminology needs to be located, including an excursus on the premodern modes of social control, together with an overview of classicism's basic philosophical tenets. I then focus on the theory of crime prevention which the school articulated in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Next I examine how the theory was institutionalized (and thereby adapted) in the concrete institutional contexts of modern state power in the nineteenth century. Finally, a critical appraisal of the lasting significance of this modernist discourse on crime prevention is provided.

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