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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 220668 Find in a Library
Title: Inventing Fear of Crime: Criminology and the Politics of Anxiety
Author(s): Murray Lee
Date Published: 2007
Page Count: 246
Sponsoring Agency: Willan Publishing
Portland, OR 97213-3644
Publication Number: ISBN-13: 978 1-84392-174-5
Sale Source: Willan Publishing
c/o ISBS, 5804 N.E. Hassalo Street
Portland, OR 97213-3644
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This book examines how fear of crime has been created as a problem, how it has assumed an empirical validity and a social scientific respectability, and how it became normalized as a socio-cultural term.
Abstract: After a historical account, two propositions are made regarding the nature of the fear of crime. First is that crime fear increased as a result of escalating recorded crime rates and general political disorder, or at least the perception of increasing crime. The second proposition suggests that crime fear had always existed but that it was only through the development of new methods of detecting and calculating it, of the evolution of technological and social scientific innovation, that the problem was identified. This set of propositions suggests a historical rupture of monumental proportions. However, both of these propositions or interpretations are suggested to be flawed because the question of “what is fear of crime” remains unanswered. This book has attempted to apply a new approach and subsequently a new set of questions to the issue of crime fear. These questions are (1) through which forms of knowledge or power has fear of crime become an object of social scientific enquiry and criminological concept; (2) how has this discourse of fear of crime subsequently come itself to have power effects; and (3) through which rationalities and mentalities are the power effects of fear of crime able to be exercised and what are the consequences? In the past few years, the difficulty of reducing fear of crime and concerted critical attacks on its legitimacy have seen it become a slightly more marginal concern for criminology. This book asks how and why fear of crime retains this cultural, political, and social scientific popularity despite criticism of its utility. Part one of the book traces the historical emergence of the fear of crime concept, while part two addresses the issue of fear of crime and political rationality, and analyzes fear of crime as a tactic or technique of government. References and index
Main Term(s): Fear of crime
Index Term(s): Criminology; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Public Opinion of Crime; Sociology
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