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By Claire Grant

At the present time, questions on how and why societies punish are deeply emotive and hotly contested. In Crime and Punishment in modern tradition, Claire Valier argues that legal justice is a key website for the negotiation of recent collective identities and modes of belonging. Exploring either renowned cultural varieties and adjustments in crime guidelines and felony legislation, Valier elaborates new different types of severe engagement with the politics of crime and punishment. In doing so, the ebook discusses:· Teletechnologies, punishment and new collectivities· The cultural politics of sufferers rights· Discourses on foreigners, crime and diaspora· Terror, the demise penalty and the spectacle of violence.Crime and Punishment in modern tradition makes a well timed and significant contribution to discuss at the chances of justice within the media age.

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Additional info for Crime and Punishment in Contemporary Culture (International Library of Sociology)

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In sum, the Jack the Ripper affair illustrates powerfully the importance of discourses about undiscovered crimes and criminal detection to the mediated spectacle of crime and punishment. ‘Commit a crime and the earth is made of glass’ Beside the words of Emerson, which stand as the epigraph to this chapter, we can place those of Carpenter (1905: 37) when he wrote, ‘the giant apparatus fails to detect or to punish a hundredth part of the criminal actions it is in search of’. Foucault (1996: 232) described the imaginary spaces of the gothic novel of the Revolutionary period as ‘like the negative of the transparency and visibility that the new order hoped to establish’.

In the nineteenth-century novel, the maxim ‘murder will out’ worked as an entertaining rhetorical device. In fact, one can note its presence there at the birth of the criminal detection genre of literary works. Wilkie Collins’ story The Woman in White (1861/1994) was so popular that when it first appeared in serialized form long queues of people waited to buy the next instalment. At one point in the tale, the dark villain Count Fosco ridicules the rather credulous and naïve ladies: how easily society can console itself for the worst of its shortcomings with a little bit of clap-trap.

Harsh, painful measures like this were designed to impress upon ‘persons of such low and base spirit . . a fear of punishment’ (Carnarvon cited in McConville 1995: 62). : 179). Modern criminal identification technologies were aimed at the professional criminal, directed at the offender who typically saw judicial punishment as an ‘ordinary mishap incidental to a criminal career’ (Anderson 1896). The criminal for whom identification technologies were designed was figured as mobile, duplicitous and refractory.

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