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French Connection in Criminology, The

Rediscovering Crime, Law, and Social Change

Bruce A. Arrigo, Dragan Milovanovic, Robert Carl Schehr

Publication Year: 2005

This is the first comprehensive, accessible, and integrative overview of postmodernism’s contribution to law, criminology, and social justice. The book begins by reviewing the major contributions of eleven prominent figures responsible for the development of French postmodern social theory. This “first” wave includes Roland Barthes, Jean Baudrillard, Hélène Cixous, Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Félix Guattari, Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva, Jacques Lacan, and Jean-François Lyotard. Their respective insights are then linked to “second” wave scholars who have appropriated their conceptualizations and applied them to pressing issues in law, crime, and social justice research. Compelling and concrete examples are provided for how affirmative and integrative postmodern inquiry can function meaningfully in the world of criminal justice. Topics explored include confinement law and prison resistance; critical race theory and a jurisprudence of color; media/literary studies and feminism; restorative justice and victim-offender mediation processes; and the emergence of social movements, including innocence projects and intentional communities.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series in New Directions in Crime and Justice Studies

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xviii

Post-Enlightenment thought in the social sciences brought with it a set of core assumptions that too often have remained unexamined. Modernist thought has both advanced and placed limitations on critical inquiry. In its most celebrated form, modernism has contributed profoundly to fundamental insights about the human condition and to potential emancipatory practices. However, the emerging postmodern society has demanded alternative theoretical...

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CHAPTER 1. Establishing the First Wave: The Linguistic Turn in Social Theory

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pp. 1-17

In this chapter, we succinctly describe the contributions of several prominent first wave thinkers whose work has contributed substantially to our understanding of postmodern thought.1 These authors include Roland Barthes, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, and Jean- François Lyotard. We note that while each of these luminaries has passed away, they individually and collectively helped to establish the first wave’s...

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CHAPTER 2. Sustaining the First Wave: More on the Liniguistic Turn in Social Theory

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pp. 19-34

In this chapter, we extend our analysis of postmodern social theory, highlighting the contributions of those first-wave thinkers who have sustained this intellectual and practical movement’s agenda, endorsing wholesale political and social change. The authors reviewed in this chapter include Jean Baudrillard, Hèléne Cixous, Jacques Derrida, Luce Irigaray, and Julia Kristeva.What distinguishes these thinkers from those canvassed in the previous...

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CHAPTER 3. The Second Wave: Interpreting the Past, Building the Present, and Looking Toward the Future

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pp. 35-49

In this chapter, we draw attention to how postmodern lines of inquiry can be interpreted. While we recognize that several skeptical versions of the perspective have received considerable attention in the literature, we suggest how affirmative renderings of postmodernism are not only possible but are already in operation. Indeed, on this latter point, we specifically identify the contributions...

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CHAPTER 4. Confinement Law and Prison Resistance: Applications in Critical Penology

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pp. 51-67

In this chapter, we examine two facets of critical penology: capital punishment in relation to persons identified as competent but mentally ill; and various approaches, interpretations, and strategies for promoting prison resistance. In the first section, the precedent case law giving rise to death row executions for psychiatrically disordered convicts is summarily reviewed.We follow with an assessment as to how an affirmative and integrative postmodern reading of...

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CHAPTER 5. Critical Race Theory and Postmodern Analysis: Strength in Dialectical Unity

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pp. 69-82

Critical race theory finds itself in an uneasy alliance with both law and postmodern analysis.1 Many CRT proponents argue that they do not have the luxury to remain in theoretical, abstract discussions or in more esoteric discourse, especially since the reality of repressive practices in law are ubiquitous and are a daily occurrence.2 Thus, their analysis privileges pragmatism. As Mari Matsuda (1996, 6, 24, 48) asserts, “legalism is a tool of necessity . . . our...

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CHAPTER 6. Cinema and Literary Texts, Differance, and Social Justice Studies

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pp. 83-96

French postmodernist thought has contributed substantially to cultural studies and media analysis, and, in particular, to cinema studies. The Lacanian cinema model was developed in the 1970s to early 1980s in the work of C. Metz (1981) and Kaja Silverman (1983). At about the same time, the Birmingham cultural studies group actively engaged Louis Althusser’s (1971)...

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CHAPTER 7. Restorative Justice and Victim Offender Mediation: Towards a Transformative Praxis

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pp. 97-113

The issued posed in this chapter is whether restorative justice1 and victim offender mediation2 (VOM) can be developed as a form of transformative praxis.3 Alternatively stated, we explore whether VOM, as a dialogical exchange that currently functions as a procedural arm of the restorative justice movement, can meaningfully work to facilitate social justice (Schehr 2000b)....

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CHAPTER 8. Social Movements as Nonlinearity: On Innocence Projects and Intentional Communities

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pp. 115-131

In this chapter, we apply affirmative and integrative postmodern inquiry to the study of social movements. In particular, we examine the phenomena of innocence projects and intentional communities. We note that our analysis here is speculative and provisional. Our intent is merely to document how other facets of social life, impacted by criminological and legal thought, could...

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CONCLUSION. Back to the Future:Rediscovering Crime, Law, and Social Change

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pp. 133-139

In this concluding chapter, we reflect on four important themes underpinning our collective call to write this book. First, we return to the first-wave postmodern luminaries and their significance for charting several new directions in the development of social theory and its application to various facets of institutional and civic life. Second, we reassess what this book endeavored to...


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pp. 141-161


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pp. 163-185

Name Index

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pp. 187-192

Subject Index

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pp. 193-198

E-ISBN-13: 9780791483732
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791463550
Print-ISBN-10: 0791463559

Page Count: 216
Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: SUNY series in New Directions in Crime and Justice Studies