Macrocriminology and Freedom

    Research output: Book/ReportBook


    The aim of this book is to inspire reflection by people who are intellectually serious about understanding crime. I love my criminology friends and what they do. Yet I have been cynical about criminology. This book represents a change of mind. Now that I perceive particular risks of the world stumbling into one environmental and economic crisis after another, ultimately into accidental nuclear war, perhaps followed by pandemics, I see renewed importance for criminology. That role is not just about preventing environmental and financial crime and the kind of cyberterrorism that can trigger accidental war. It is also about preventing catastrophes that cascade from the criminalisation of states, the criminalisation of markets and the cascading of violent imaginaries on social media. The book discusses the green shoots that have refreshed macrocriminology. They engender a politics of hope. The book rethinks how different institutions can be designed to temper the excesses of other institutions. It argues that many societies have succeeded in growing freedom and reducing crime. There is no impossibilism about domination reduction and ecocide prevention. Progress is fragile. All societies are partial failures; all have strengths that can be expanded. It is not new to emphasise the macro by injecting institutionalism into criminology. Emile Durkheim and Willem Bonger took this step around 1900. Then Robert K. Merton and Norbert Elias redeemed it in the 1930s in germinal ways. Their paths were renewed when Steven Messner and Richard Rosenfeld developed their institutional anomie theory. The contribution of this book is tiny compared with the foundations these scholars laid. It also builds on my love for Chicago and Chicago School foundations. This contribution is small, too, compared with others in that tradition, such as Robert Sampson today.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationAustralia
    PublisherANU Press
    Number of pages791
    ISBN (Print)9781760464806
    Publication statusPublished - 2022


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