Crime control is in crisis. Not only have levels of crime risen but, more important, crime is increasingly regarded as a normal aspect of the social and economic system rather than disruption or deviance. The blurring boundaries between the criminal and the normal are evident in a number of areas from the activities of multinational corporations to the life of the inner city.
In this book, John Lea develops a broad historical and sociological overview relating the rise and fall of effective crime control to different types of social structures. It traces the process of modernisation and industrialisation from the eighteenth to the mid twentieth centuries which established the social preconditions for effective control and management of criminality. In the early years of the present century it is clear that these preconditions are now being progressively undermined as industrial society undergoes profound changes in its direction of development. The result is traced through a variety of types of criminality and the progressive debilitation of existing institutions and processes of crime control.
A major feature of this book is its wide scope and imaginative application of historical and theoretical perspectives on modernisation and capitalist social development to the contemporary problems of controlling a wide variety of crime. It represents a significant contribution to the ability of criminology and the sociology of crime to confront the dilemmas and controversies of the twenty first century
Chapter 3: The Frontiers of Criminalisation
The Frontiers of Criminalisation
The previous chapter attempted an illustration of some of the factors involved in the development of the social relations of crime control during the nineteenth century. The example was limited: to one country, England, and was overwhelmingly concerned with the establishment of crime control in the working-class communities. These developments were nevertheless illustrative of the more general trend of the extension and consolidation of the social relations of governance during that period. The success of these developments was, it was argued, due to a confluence of the modernising offensive of the enlightened sections of the bourgeoisie and the predominant tendencies of capitalist development.
The process was not free of conflicts and contradictions. I have noted the two contrasting tendencies ...