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Theorizing Crime and Deviance


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Table of Contents

Introduction Historical Patterns of Crime in England Crime Trends in the Neo-Liberal Age Philosophy, Social Theory and Criminology: The Underlying Liberal Narrative 20th Century Criminological Theory: From Aetiology to Controlology Living with the Undead: The Failure of Liberal-Left Theory The Return of the Dialectic The Transcendental Materialist Subject On the Stimulation and Pacification of Populations Conclusion

About the Author

Steve Hall is Professor of Criminology at the Social Futures Institute, Teesside University.


A remarkable intellectual achievement, bringing to bear a grasp of contemporary social theory that is superbly sophisticated and up-to-date. It illuminates current trends and patterns in crime and criminal justice, as well as analysing how we got here historically. The book amounts to a highly original and stimulating theoretical perspective combining structural political economy, cultural appreciation, and a psychoanalytically informed analysis of subjectivity. It is bound to have a huge impact on the field
Robert Reiner
Professor of Criminology, London School of Economics and Political Science

An original, accessible and timely exposition of the current state of criminological theory; together with an inspirational programme for criminology's re-moralisation and regeneration it provides a cutting-edge critique of contemporary (and global) political and economic crimes and harms
Pat Carlen
Visiting Professor, Kent University

In Theorising Crime and Deviance, the most important voice in contemporary theoretical criminology speaks. Hall abstracts himself from the usual parameters of acceptable criminological knowledge and offers the discipline a progressive route away from its current intellectual impasse. Borrowing from history, philosophy, psychoanalysis, politics and economics, and with characteristic brilliance, Hall has succeeded in producing a beautifully written, accessible and yet theoretically rigorous piece of writing that should be read by everyone interested in crime, law and social order. The book should be read with an open mind and as a genuine response to the suffocating inability of criminology to free itself from the century old slanging-match between its liberal and conservative wings. Rather than reproducing yet another one of those anodyne theoretical textbooks that tacitly endorses liberalism and parliamentary capitalism, texts that refuse to stray too far from 60's left-liberalism, Hall has produced something of real value that will force readers to rethink the problem of crime and social order at this crucial stage in the discipline's history. Without question, Theorising Crime and Deviance is sure to be a landmark text in leftist criminological thought
Simon Winlow
University of York In Theorizing Crime and Deviance, one of the most creative minds in contemporary criminology boldly tackles big questions that the discipline has lately been unable or unwilling to confront. Steve Hall's compelling and original book should help to restart a crucial discussion about the connections between crime and an increasingly volatile and predatory global social order. Above all, it is a persuasive case for bringing capitalism back into our understanding of why people are so willing to do harm to one another
Elliott Currie
Professor of Criminology, Law and Society, University of California, Irvine Forget public criminology! What criminology needs today is a return to theory. Steve Hall's dissection of what he terms the 'pseudo pacification process' is an excellent place to begin. Written as an uncompromising challenge to mainstream criminology and its assumptions, Hall rocks the foundations of the discipline by revealing the 'heart of darkness' at the very centre of the 'civilising process'; and probes its unsettling implications for criminological thought and thinking
Professor Simon Hallsworth
London Metropolitan University Anything that takes away from the terminally off key karaoke of so much that passes for theory in criminology is to be welcomed, and this is a fine effort to connect the study of crime and control to an innovative set of theoretical possibilities. A rip-roaring read that slaughters some sacred cows while throwing the odd baby out with the bath water
Richard Hobbs
University of Essex This book is a remarkable achievement and is just what is needed to reinvigorate a critical perspective in criminology adequate to the present crisis
John Lea
Visiting Professor of Criminology, University of Brighton Hall sucessfully demonstrates liberalism's difficulty with the problem of order under tensions and conditions of individualism and freedom... This erudite and original book synthesizes a dazzling array of thought and evidence to interrogate criminological theory's dominant conservative and liberal perspectives. This remarkable, controversial and, ultimately in my view, successful book will no doubt give rise to alternate intellectual judgments about its efficacy. This reviewer is left with a sense of criminological theory's tiredness of intellectual ambition and scope, while Hall's book leaves a sense of rejuvenation and excitement.
Colin Webster
British Journal of Criminology
"Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above." -- C. Powell * Choice *

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