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The Local Governance of Crime: Appeals to Community and Partnerships$
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Adam Crawford

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198298458

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198298458.001.0001

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The Contestable Nature of ‘Community’

The Contestable Nature of ‘Community’

(p.148) 5 The Contestable Nature of ‘Community’
The Local Governance of Crime: Appeals to Community and Partnerships

Adam Crawford

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the nature of ‘community’, to which appeals are made in criminal-justice discourse and policies, and the institutionalization of ‘community’ in actual practices. It examines some of the understandings and conceptualizations of ‘community’ within dominant political and intellectual discourse, along with the assumptions which underlie them. It specifically exposes some of the hidden theoretical and practical presuppositions and the ideological strategies which they serve. Tensions between the normative and empirical aspects of appeals to ‘community’ are considered. Then, it assesses the contribution of communities to crime control and prevention, drawing upon insights from both the crime-prevention and the mediation-research case studies. Moreover, it addresses the various uses and conceptualization of ‘community’ in the Annual reports from around Britain, most notably the role of the mediator as a symbolic representative of the ‘moral community’. It is clear that ‘community’ acts as a genial host accompanied by layered ideological assumptions and presuppositions all seeking to serve ulterior political aims, strategies, and interests.

Keywords:   community, criminal-justice discourse, criminal-justice policy, crime control, crime prevention, Britain

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