The New Regulatory State and the Transformation of Criminology

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    The forms of government and social relations that increasingly characterize contemporary society are giving rise to new ways of thinking about crime and crime control. In particular it is argued that although the discipline of criminology is currently well established in institutional terms, the intellectual tools of the discipline are of diminishing relevance to the social world that is now emerging. The article describes the major developmental trends in government policy as involving a shift from a welfare state, governed by Keynesian techniques of demand management to a new form of regulatory state, premised upon a neo-liberal combination of market competition, privatized institutions, and decentred, at-a-distance forms of state regulation. These new styles of governance are premised upon a recognition of new social forces and mentalities, particularly of the globalizing logic of risk management, and they will increasingly reconfigure the social and political fields in ways that have consequences for the policing and control of crime. Criminology's traditional focus upon street crimes and the institutions of police, courts and prisons may be decreasingly relevant to the new harms, risks and mechanisms of control that are emerging today. The innovative work of 'regulatory state scholars' such as Clifford Shearing is identified as pushing criminology in new directions that confound the discipline's traditional boundaries but which give it more leverage in the attempt to understand and respond to the control problems of the end of the century. The possibilities for restorative justice in the new context are also discussed, as are other methods for combating insecurity, and both are linked to the importance of developing forms of local knowledge that are informed by a sense of the global development context. It is argued that the Keynesian state has been replaced by a new regulatory state that is a more Hayekian response to a risk society. Clifford Shearing is identified as a criminological theorist who has come to terms with these developments, especially in his collaborations with Phillip Stenning, David Bayley, Tony Doob and his colleagues at the Community Peace Foundation in Cape Town. Shearing et al. are forging a new paradigm (that incorporates the restorative justice paradigm) which might just transcend criminology and become something of general import to the social sciences.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCriminology and Social Theory
    Editors Unknown
    Place of PublicationOxford
    PublisherOxford University Press
    ISBN (Print)0198299427
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


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