Penal Populism in Modern Societies Cover Image

Baudžiamasis populizmas šiuolaikinėse visuomenėse
Penal Populism in Modern Societies

Author(s): Fritz Sack
Subject(s): Criminology, Penal Policy
Published by: Lietuvos teisės institutas

Summary/Abstract: The general intention of the author is to widen and enhance the scope of criminology beyond its traditional borders and to encourage a kind of “transgressive criminology”. Although the discipline boasts itself of its interdisciplinarity, criminology could profit by a little more courage in borrowing from still other disciplines and perspectives than what is the usual practice in field of criminology. The pattern of interdisciplinarity which is since long observed in criminology is restricted to those disciplines whose unit of analysis consists of the individual person, excluding more or less any reference to collective and social entities. In the article F. Sack concentrates on reactions to crime by the society and the state. This is the central question which has brought about a kind of paradigmatic shift in criminology in the beginning of the sixties and which is closely connected with a new generation of essentially sociological scholars who were working in the field of crime and social control. H. S. Becker, E. Lemert, D. Matza are the most prominent scholars who have insisted on the importance for criminology of questions of the defining aspects of crime and its “constitution” and “construction”. “Crime” is not just a given “natural” or ontological event, but it has to be defined, “labelled” by persons and institutions that are entitled and “licensed” to do so. The so-called constructionist orientation and perspective in the field of crime analysis and deviance in general has become more or less the dominant position in criminology. The process of criminalization on its different levels has opened up a whole new field and type of criminological studies and has stimulated a host of historical research about the role and functioning of the penal law with respect to social stability and change. F. Sack begins with some comments on the chosen topic, especially on the concept of “populism” in relation to the area of crime and criminal politics that builds the substantial, political, institutional, disciplinary and scientific frame of this conference. In the second paragraph he turns to the question of which specific criteria are used to indicate populist measures and methods in the area of crime control and crime fighting. Finally he deals with methodological and empirical questions about criminological research in the field of criminal politics. Many arguments of the author refer to one of the most prominent studies on punishment and penal policy – D. Garland’s book “The Culture of Control”.

  • Issue Year: 2/2010
  • Issue No: 68
  • Page Range: 41-57
  • Page Count: 17
  • Language: Lithuanian