Consumption, crime and harm at home. Regulating for what and whom?

Tombs, Steve (2023). Consumption, crime and harm at home. Regulating for what and whom? In: Davies, Pamela and Rowe, Michael eds. Criminology of the Domestic. Routledge Studies in Crime, Justice and the Family. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp. 50–68.



This chapter starts by viewing home is a key site of consumption, and therefore simultaneously a site where the state, the private sector and the public sector meet at the ostensible object of regulation – the consumer. The chapter takes several case studies involving consumption at and for the home – examining a combination of crime, harm, victimisation and protection (or otherwise) through law and enforcement, to ask questions about the nature of regulation in contemporary corporate capitalist societies. Historically considered as a means of limiting, mitigating and prohibiting some of the harmful activities of organisations which provide goods and services, the chapter argues that regulation needs to be rethought. In the contemporary period the domestic environment is a site, process and effect of symbiotic relationships whereby harm is permitted, legitimated and, in some respects, even encouraged. As a result, the quality and longevity of life for the relatively poor are systematically diminished as the means by which the wealth of the relatively rich is augmented, and thus where established economic, political and social power relationships are maintained and reproduced.

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