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In Praise of Dangerous Thoughts

Young, Jock
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Punishment and Society. 5(1): 97-107.

In this review article, Jock Young discusses a collection of essays edited by David Garland and Richard Sparks and titled Criminology and Social Theory (Oxford University Press, 2000). In the book, a distinguished group of social theorists examine the ways in which crime and response to crime feature in the political and cultural structures of contemporary societies. The “dangerous thoughtsâ€? of Young’s title refer to the perspective that links crime and penality to the deep structure of society as evidenced in modern sociological theory. It is Young’s argument that in the first two thirds of the twentieth century an applied criminology developed in Britain that was highly pragmatic, empiricist, and parochial in character. It largely ignored the sociology of crime and deviance. In the last third of the twentieth century this has changed as British criminology reconnected with sociology, with dramatic implications for criminological thought and social policy. In this framework, Young critically examines ideas on crime, restorative justice, government, society, and more as presented in essays by authors such as John Braithwaite, Paul Hirst, and Nikolas Rose.


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