Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State and Law and Order (2nd ed.)

Hall, Stuart; Critcher, Chas; Jefferson, Tony; Clarke, John and Roberts, Brian (2013). Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State and Law and Order (2nd ed.). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

URL: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/policing-the-crisis-...


35th anniversary edition of this book.
This collaboratively authored book begins as an attempt to analyse the apparent rise in a new form of crime in Britain of the early 1970s, mugging. The authors expose the ways in which changes of operational procedure and priority on the part of the police were at least partly responsible for this phenomenon, as concern that mugging needed to be cracked down on led to more arrests as well as to more offences being classified as muggings. The coverage of the resultant court cases led to much media comment on this apparent new phenomenon, fuelling public concern which resulted in the handing down of greatly increased sentences to convicted muggers in the name of deterrence. Thus, the authors aim to demonstrate that the phenomenon was certainly fuelled and indeed, to a certain extent, created by the very institutions to which fell the task of controlling it. The authors then examine this chain of events as an instance by which a crisis of ideology within British society and late capitalism in general is managed by the authorities. Supposedly deviant groups, in this case young black males, are periodically singled out and placed at the centre of a series of moral panics which allow the state to demonstrate that it has the people's consent to maintain the status quo through an increasing reliance on a authoritarian `law'n'order' model. The book concludes with an extended and unashamedly polemical Marxist analysis of the situation of the black British as a super-exploited sub-proletariat, and attempts to lay the theoretical ground for those trying to reconfigure society for the better. Its sometimes uneven tone reflects its collaborative authorship, and the terms of the debate and the nature of the identified crisis root the book firmly in its 1970s point of origin, but there is nonetheless a great deal in this classic cultural study to provoke thought and debate into the twenty-first century.

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