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Precrime: Imagining future crime and a new space for criminology.

McCulloch, Jude
June 4, 2015

Source: (2009) Australia and New Zealand Critical Criminology Conference 2009: Conference Proceedings. Pg. 151-162.

This paper sets out to describe the contours of the shift from post to precrime taking shape under contemporary counter
terrorism measures and to map the implications of this development in terms of criminal justice and society more broadly. It
argues that the move to precrime consolidates a trend towards integrating national security into criminal justice. The
emerging hybrid national security and criminal justice framework has led to a number of tensions and contradictions in
counter terrorism measures, including a tension between the ideal of impartial criminal justice and the politically charged
concept of national security.
The shift from post to precrime and national security under counter terrorism frameworks encompass a temporal and
geographic shift, the latter involving a blurring of the borders between the states’ internal and external coercive capacities.
The paper traces the antecedents of the shift from post to precrime arguing that the significance of this for criminology and
society cannot begin to be understood unless the historical precedents and genealogies are also understood. It argues that
the shifts that have advanced under the mantle of counter terrorism can be traced through a number of interlinking
historical trajectories including the wars on crime and drugs, criminalization and at a deeper level in colonial strategies of
domination, control and repression embodied in counter insurgency practice and theory. The paper identifies a number of
challenges and opportunities for criminology in the shift from postcrime criminal justice to precrime national security. (Authors abstract).


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