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What is Criminology?$
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Mary Bosworth and Carolyn Hoyle

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199571826

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199571826.001.0001

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Criminology's Public Roles: A Drama in Six Acts

Criminology's Public Roles: A Drama in Six Acts

(p.17) 1 Criminology's Public Roles: A Drama in Six Acts
What is Criminology?

Ian Loader

Richard Sparks

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the following questions: what contribution can criminological knowledge make to shaping responses to crime in a polity which acknowledges crime and punishment to be properly political issues? What in a democracy is the public value of criminology? What is the collective good that criminological enquiry seeks to promote? What modes of intervention — and what institutional arrangements — can best realize that good? To answer these questions a new figure, or perhaps more accurately, a revived and updated old one, is introduced. This character, following and extending John Locke (1690/1975), is called the democratic under-labourer. The figure is used to elaborate and defend the idea that we can best give coherence to criminology's public purpose by understanding its role as one of seeking to foster and sustain a better politics of crime and its regulation. This figure — the hero or heroine of the drama that follows — emerges from an effort to revisit and revise an earlier treatment of these issues by Garland and Sparks.

Keywords:   criminology, criminological knowledge, public value collective good, democratic under-labourer

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