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

By Gordon Hughes | Go to book overview

Glossary of key terms

Abolitionism The movement in criminology and criminal justice reform which seeks to abolish all or part of the penal and criminal justice system.

Actuarial justice The approach to crime control and risk management which is organized around the principles of social utility and efficient management rather than classical criminal justice principles of legality and due process, responsibility and culpability. The policy objective associated with this emergent discourse-is the clear categorization of 'risky' people to identify and manage.

Administrative criminology The term used to describe the development of a body of technical and politically pragmatic knowledge, linked to the Home Office in Britain since the 1970s. According to critics (such as 'Left Realists'), it represents a body of criminological research aimed at helping those in power to put their ideas into practice by the employment of technical evaluations.

Aetiology A term derived from biomedical science which suggests that the original and specific causes of crime can be identified and 'diagnosed' in the same way as the causes of disease and illness.

Anomic A term originally used by the sociologist Durkheim to capture the state of 'pathological normlessness' induced when aspirations are incapable of being met due to restricted opportunities or due to lack of regulation over behaviour.

Classicism The school of criminology which views both criminality and the administration of criminal justice as premised upon principles of rationality, choice, and the deterrent, preventive power of punishment.

Communitarianism The broad philosophical and sociological tradition in which there is an emphasis on the centrality of informal, communal bonds and networks for the maintenance of social order. It is critical of individualistic theories of social behaviour and 'society' such as 'neo-liberalism' (see below), invoking notions of 'social beings' and 'community' rather than 'atomized individuals'. It is characterized by both conservative moralistic and radical left variants.

Community safety The strategy which seeks to move beyond a police-driven crime prevention agenda, to involve greater participation from all sections of the 'community'. It has been particularly associated with local authority strategies of crime prevention and urban regeneration.

Corporate crime Offences committed by business corporations in the pursuit of their own profits and interests.

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