Psychological Jurisprudence

Critical Explorations in Law, Crime, and Society

Edited by Bruce A. Arrigo

Subjects: Sociology, Psychology, Criminology
Series: SUNY series in New Directions in Crime and Justice Studies
Paperback : 9780791461525, 250 pages, August 2004
Hardcover : 9780791461518, 250 pages, August 2004

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Table of contents


1. The Critical Perspective in Law-Psychology Research: New Directions in Citizen Justice and Radical Social Change
Bruce A. Arrigo

2. Anarchic Insurgencies: The Mythos of Authority and the Violence of Mental Health
Christopher R. Williams

3. A Critical Perspective on Freud's Theory of Parricide and Crime in General
Phillip C. H. Shon

4. Media Images, Mental Health Law, and Justice: A Constitutive Response to the "Competency" of Theodore Kacyznski
Michael P. Arena and Bruce A. Arrigo

5. The Diminishing Sanctity of Youth: Contributions from General and Family Systems Theory
Jeffrey L. Helms and Bruce A. Arrigo

6. Recent Perspectives on Penal Punitiveness
Véronique Voruz

7. Is Rationalization Good for the Soul? Resisting "Responsibilization" in Corrections and the Courts
Shadd Maruna

8. Prospects for Justice at the Law-Psychology Divide: An Agenda for Theory, Research, and Practice
Bruce A. Arrigo

About the Contributors


A critical look at the relationship between law and psychology.


Psychological jurisprudence—or the use of psychology in the legal realm—relies on theories and methods of criminal justice and mental health to make decisions about intervention, policy, and programming. While the intentions behind the law-psychology field are humane, the results often are not. This book provides a "radical" agenda for psychological jurisprudence, one that relies on the insights of literary criticism, psychoanalysis, feminist theory, political economy analysis, postmodernism, and related strains of critical thought. Contributors reveal the roots of psycholegal logic and demonstrate how citizen justice and structural reform are displaced by so-called science and facts. A number of complex issues in the law-psychology field are addressed, including forensic mental health decision-making, parricide, competency to stand trial, adolescent identity development, penal punitiveness, and offender rehabilitation. In exploring how the current resolution to these and related controversies fail to promote the dignity or empowerment of persons with mental illness, this book suggests how the law-psychology field can meaningfully contribute to advancing the goals of justice and humanism in psycholegal theory, research, and policy.

Bruce A. Arrigo is Professor and Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is the author or editor of several books, including, Punishing the Mentally Ill: A Critical Analysis of Law and Psychiatry and (with Christopher R. Williams) Law, Psychology, and Justice: Chaos Theory and the New (Dis)order, both published by SUNY Press.