A crime is an essentially contestedconcept.
So it’s something where there is no universally agreed definition of what a crime is.
However, the most straightforward way of thinking about crime
is to look at it in terms of a legalistic perspective
and that is, is that a crime is something which is illegal.
It’s against the law.
It’s against the criminal law
and also it will have certain aspects to it.
So it will have an aspect of criminal harm
and it will havean aspect of criminal blame.
many people have actually questionedthis legalistic definition.
First of all, because it’s always going to be partial
and determined within a very small kind of idea of what is crime.
If something isn’t illegal,
then albeit we might see it as wrong,
or problematic or harmful
but it’s not going to actually be something which we can define as a crime.
So many people have looked tounpack that legal definition,
have questioned the very notions of what is and what isn’t criminal harm
and have also questioned notions around criminal blame
and both the strengthsand weaknesses of that side of things.
Some people have even gone as far to say
that a crime is a statist category,
either that it’s defined by the state
and it’s infused with certain interests,
and power relations
which reflect the interests of the powerful.
It reflects the interests of those who have something to lose in society
where it does not necessarily reflect the interests of those who are powerless or those at the bottom end of society.
And hence, the crime logic is seen as imposed.
It’s something which is placedas a category,
as a way of generating meanings and understandings
and some have argued that actually is a problem in itself
and that we shouldn’t necessarily even think about the logic of crime,
because actually crime will lead us to certain pathways of solutions,
such as punishment.
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