• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

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

The Contradictions of Modernisation
The contradictions of modernisation

During the period between the two world wars, the dynamic of capitalist modernisation, particularly in Europe, appeared either to have exhausted itself or taken new authoritarian forms represented by fascism and Stalinism. In fact the authoritarian systems shared with the liberal democratic innovations of the New Deal in the United States and the Keynesian welfare state in western Europe a strategy of state intervention aimed at sustaining economic expansion and stabilising the relations between capital and organised labour. After the defeat of fascism in Europe it could be plausibly maintained that in western Europe and North America repressive versions of modernisation had been overcome and the ‘modernising offensive’ could now resume its course as a form of ‘organised ...

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