Rutgers University Press

Critical Issues in Crime and Society

Edited by Raymond J. Michalowski

Published by: Rutgers University Press

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Critical Issues in Crime and Society

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Scapegoats of September 11th

Hate Crimes & State Crimes in the War on Terror

Michael Welch

From its largest cities to deep within its heartland, from its heavily trafficked airways to its meandering country byways, America has become a nation racked by anxiety about terrorism and national security. In response to the fears prompted by the tragedy of September 11th, the country has changed in countless ways. Airline security has tightened, mail service is closely examined, and restrictions on civil liberties are more readily imposed by the government and accepted by a wary public. The altered American landscape, however, includes more than security measures and ID cards. The country's desperate quest for security is visible in many less obvious, yet more insidious ways. In Scapegoats of September 11th, criminologist Michael Welch argues that the "war on terror" is a political charade that delivers illusory comfort, stokes fear, and produces scapegoats used as emotional relief. Regrettably, much of the outrage that resulted from 9/11 has been targeted at those not involved in the attacks on the Pentagon or the Twin Towers. As this book explains, those people have become the scapegoats of September 11th. Welch takes on the uneasy task of sorting out the various manifestations of displaced aggression, most notably the hate crimes and state crimes that have become embarrassing hallmarks both at home and abroad. Drawing on topics such as ethnic profiling, the Abu Ghraib scandal, Guantanamo Bay, and the controversial Patriot Act, Welch looks at the significance of knowledge, language, and emotion in a post-9/11 world. In the face of popular and political cheerleading in the war on terror, this book presents a careful and sober assessment, reminding us that sound counterterrorism policies must rise above, rather than participate in, the propagation of bigotry and victimization.

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Schools Under Surveillance

Cultures of Control in Public Education

Edited and with an introduction by Torin Monahan and Rodolfo D. Torres

Schools under Surveillance gathers together some of the very best researchers studying surveillance and discipline in contemporary public schools. Essays cover a broad range of topics including police and military recruiters on campus, testing and accountability regimes such as No Child Left Behind, and efforts by students and teachers to circumvent the most egregious forms of surveillance in public education. Each contributor is committed to the continued critique of the disparity and inequality in the use of surveillance to target and sort students along lines of race, class, and gender.

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Social Justice

Theories, Issues, and Movements

Loretta Capeheart and Dragan Milovanovic

An eye for an eye, the balance of scales-for centuries, these and other traditional concepts exemplified the public's perception of justice. Today, popular culture, including television shows like Law and Order , informs the public's vision. But do age-old symbols, portrayals in the media, and existing systems truly represent justice in all of its nuanced forms, or do we need to think beyond these notions? In Social Justice: Theories, Issues, and Movements, Loretta Capeheart and Dragan Milovanovic respond to the need for a comprehensive introduction to this topic. The authors argue that common conceptions of criminal justice-which accept, for the most part, a politically established definition of crime-are too limited. Instead, they show the relevancy of history, political economy, culture, critique, and cross-cultural engagement to the advancement of justice. Drawing on contemporary issues ranging from globalization to the environment, this essential textbook-ideal for course use-encourages practitioners, reformists, activists, and scholars to question the limits of the law in its present state in order to develop a fairer system at the local, national, and global levels.

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State Crime

Current Perspectives

Edited by Dawn L. Rothe and Christopher W. Mullins and with an introduction by M. Cherif Bassiouni

Current media and political discourse on crime has long ignored crimes committed by States themselves, despite their greater financial and human toll. For the past two decades, scholars have examined how and why States violate their own laws and international law and explored what can be done to reduce or prevent these injustices. Through a collection of essays by leading scholars in the field, State Crime offers a set of cases exemplifying state criminality along with various methods for controlling governmental transgressions. With topics ranging from crimes of aggression to nuclear weapons to the construction and implementation of social controls, this volume is an indispensable resource for those who examine the behavior of States and those who study crime in its varied forms.

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Surveillance in the Time of Insecurity

Torin Monahan

Threats of terrorism, natural disaster, identity theft, job loss, illegal immigration, and even biblical apocalypse—all are perils that trigger alarm in people today. Although there may be a factual basis for many of these fears, they do not simply represent objective conditions. Feelings of insecurity are instilled by politicians and the media, and sustained by urban fortification, technological surveillance, and economic vulnerability.Surveillance in the Time of Insecurity fuses advanced theoretical accounts of state power and neoliberalism with original research from the social settings in which insecurity dynamics play out in the new century. Torin Monahan explores the counterterrorism-themed show 24, Rapture fiction, traffic control centers, security conferences, public housing, and gated communities, and examines how each manifests complex relationships of inequality, insecurity, and surveillance. Alleviating insecurity requires that we confront its mythic dimensions, the politics inherent in new configurations of security provision, and the structural obstacles to achieving equality in societies.

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Tough on Hate?

The Cultural Politics of Hate Crimes

Clara S. Lewis

Why do we know every gory crime scene detail about such victims as Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. and yet almost nothing about the vast majority of other hate crime victims? Now that federal anti-hate-crimes laws have been passed, why has the number of these crimes not declined significantly? To answer such questions, Clara S. Lewis challenges us to reconsider our understanding of hate crimes. In doing so, she raises startling issues about the trajectory of civil and minority rights.

Tough on Hate is the first book to examine the cultural politics of hate crimes both within and beyond the law. Drawing on a wide range of sources—including personal interviews, unarchived documents, television news broadcasts, legislative debates, and presidential speeches—the book calls attention to a disturbing irony: the sympathetic attention paid to certain shocking hate crime murders further legitimizes an already pervasive unwillingness to act on the urgent civil rights issues of our time. Worse still, it reveals the widespread acceptance of ideas about difference, tolerance, and crime that work against future progress on behalf of historically marginalized communities.

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Victims as Offenders

The Paradox of Women's Violence in Relationships

Susan L. Miller

Arrests of women for assault increased more than 40 percent over the past decade, while male arrests for this offense have fallen by about one percent. Some studies report that for the first time ever the rate of reported intimate partner abuse among men and women is nearly equal. Susan L. Miller’s timely book explores the important questions raised by these startling statistics.

            Are women finally closing the gender gap on violence? Or does this phenomenon reflect a backlash shaped by men who batter? How do abusive men use the criminal justice system to increase control over their wives? Do police, courts, and treatment providers support aggressive arrest policies for women?  Are these women “victims” or “offenders”? 

             In answering these questions, Miller draws on extensive data from a study of police behavior in the field, interviews with criminal justice professionals and social service providers, and participant observation of female offender programs. She offers a critical analysis of the theoretical assumptions framing the study of violence and provides insight into the often contradictory implications of the mandatory and pro-arrest policies enacted in the 1980s and 1990s. Miller argues that these enforcement strategies, designed to protect women, have often victimized women in different ways. Without sensationalizing, Miller unveils a reality that looks very different from what current statistics on domestic violence imply.



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Why We Harm

Lois Presser

Criminologists are primarily concerned with the analysis of actions that violate existing laws. But a growing number have begun analyzing crimes as actions that inflict harm, regardless of the applicability of legal sanctions. Even as they question standard definitions of crime as law-breaking, scholars of crime have few theoretical frameworks with which to understand the etiology of harmful action.

In Why We Harm, Lois Presser scrutinizes accounts of acts as diverse as genocide, environmental degradation, war, torture, terrorism, homicide, rape, and meat-eating in order to develop an original theoretical framework with which to consider harmful actions and their causes. In doing so, this timely book presents a general theory of harm, revealing the commonalities between actions that impose suffering and cause destruction.

Harm is built on stories in which the targets of harm are reduced to one-dimensional characters—sometimes a dangerous foe, sometimes much more benign, but still a projection of our own concerns and interests. In our stories of harm, we are licensed to do the harmful deed and, at the same time, are powerless to act differently. Chapter by chapter, Presser examines statements made by perpetrators of a wide variety of harmful actions. Appearing vastly different from one another at first glance, Presser identifies the logics they share that motivate, legitimize, and sustain them. From that point, she maps out strategies for reducing harm.

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Women on Ice

Methamphetamine Use Among Suburban Women

Miriam Boeri

Methamphetamine (ice, speed, crystal, shard) has been called epidemic in the United States. Yet few communities were ready for increased use of methamphetamine by suburban women. Women on Ice is the first book to study exclusively the lives of women who use the drug and its effects on their families.

In-depth interviews with women in the suburban counties of one of the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. chronicle the details of their initiation into methamphetamine, the turning points into problematic drug use, and for a few, their escape from lives veering out of control. Their life course and drug careers are analyzed in relation to the intersecting influences of social roles, relationships, social/political structures, and political trends. Examining the effects of punitive drug policy, inadequate social services, and looming public health risks, including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C, the book gives voice to women silenced by shame.

Boeri introduces new and developing concepts in the field of addiction studies and proposes policy changes to more broadly implement initiatives that address the problems these women face. She asserts that if we are concerned that the war on drugs is a war on drug users, this book will alert us that it is also a war on suburban families.

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