Social control, criminal justice system, violence and prevention of victimization in highly technological society

author: Renata Salecl, Institute of Criminology, Faculty of Law, University of Ljubljana
produced by: S.TV.A.d.o.o.
published: Sept. 6, 2012,   recorded: April 2012,   views: 3653

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Criminology faces serious questioning of who the subject of criminal activity is, what his responsibility is, what leads the individual to perform criminal acts and how criminal behaviour might be prevented. All these questions are addressed in a new way in today’s society. On the one hand, we have an increase of criminal behaviour, which is linked to centres of economic power, and which often is not regarded as criminal per se. On the other hand, we have an increase of the search for the potentially deviant people from the margins of society. These are people who are marked by poverty, insufficient education, dysfunctional family life and crumbling system of social network. If the first group of offenders – the protagonists who are part of the capital elite – perceived as less and less responsible and are thus also less controlled by the state and less haunted by the legal system, as well as less persecuted for their offence, is the other group of potential offenders (the poor) becoming the object of ever new legal and scientific approaches. Under the guise of searching for ways to prevent and deter crime as well as predict possible future criminal behaviour, science is now actually creating new forms of exclusions and criminalization’s. Our research project tackles these dilemmas so that it, on the one hand, theoretically looks at how criminal law and society at large perceive criminal subjectivity, how this definition changes through history and especially what kind of changes happened to this definition on societies which went through transition from socialism to capitalism. In this context special attention is given to the definitions of morality and ethics. The next important analysis concerns the influence of science in the criminal law and the penal system Genetics and neuroscience are today taken the two sciences which are opening new ways of predicting future criminal behaviour, while, at the same time, they offer new explanations in the judicial procedure. In the world, we were able to observe the first legal cases where punishment was lowered because f the presumed genetically predisposition of the criminal to commit criminal act. Brain scans are offered as more and more acceptable evidence in criminal law cases, as well in the civil law. For criminology, this introduction of neuroscience and genetics into legal proceedings presents a great challenge. While, at first, it looks that this will give an improvement to the legal procedure and offer ways to deter crime as well as present possibilities to find early interventions which would change potential criminal behaviour, in reality the research into criminal genetics leads to new forms of exclusion, especially on economic and racial ground.

New technology today in an important way influences our perception of crime while it also opens the doors to new forms of social control. Our lives are thus increasingly controlled through our involvement in various social networks, browsing through the Internet and new consumer behavior with the help of different loyalty cards. On the other hand, the Internet has become a new place of crime, data theft, economic espionage and so on. Our research tackles these changes in the way technology is influencing crime while it also looks at the way criminal law responds to them.

The research team has demonstrated its excellence by publications in top international journals and participation at prestigious international conferences. We were thus also co-hosts of the European Congress of Criminology.

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