The French Connection in Criminology

Rediscovering Crime, Law, and Social Change

By Bruce A. Arrigo, Dragan Milovanovic, and Robert Carl Schehr

Subjects: Sociology, Postmodernism, Criminology
Series: SUNY series in New Directions in Crime and Justice Studies
Paperback : 9780791463567, 216 pages, February 2005
Hardcover : 9780791463550, 216 pages, February 2005

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Table of contents


1. Establishing the First Wave: The Linguistic Turn in Social Theory

2. Sustaining the First Wave: More on the Linguistic Turn in Social Theory

3. The Second Wave: Interpreting the Past, Building the Present, and Looking Toward the Future

4. Confinement Law and Prison Resistance: Applications in Critical Penology

5. Critical Race Theory and Postmodern Analysis: Strength in Dialectical Unity

6. Cinema and Literary Texts, Différance, and Social Justice Studies

7. Restorative Justice and Victim Offender Mediation: Towards a Transformative Praxis

8. Social Movements as Nonlinearity: On Innocence Projects and Intentional Communities

Conclusion: Back to the Future: Rediscovering Crime, Law, and Social Change




Brings the insights of postmodernism to the concerns of criminology and includes examples of how social theory can function in the real-world realm of criminal law. Winner of the 2005 Outstanding Book Award presented by the Crime and Juvenile Delinquency Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems


Winner of the 2005 Outstanding Book Award presented by the Crime and Juvenile Delinquency Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems

This is the first comprehensive, accessible, and integrative overview of postmodernism's contribution to law, criminology, and social justice. The book begins by reviewing the major contributions of eleven prominent figures responsible for the development of French postmodern social theory. This "first" wave includes Roland Barthes, Jean Baudrillard, Hélène Cixous, Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Félix Guattari, Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva, Jacques Lacan, and Jean-François Lyotard. Their respective insights are then linked to "second" wave scholars who have appropriated their conceptualizations and applied them to pressing issues in law, crime, and social justice research. Compelling and concrete examples are provided for how affirmative and integrative postmodern inquiry can function meaningfully in the world of criminal justice. Topics explored include confinement law and prison resistance; critical race theory and a jurisprudence of color; media/literary studies and feminism; restorative justice and victim-offender mediation processes; and the emergence of social movements, including innocence projects and intentional communities.

Bruce A. Arrigo is Professor and Chair of Criminal Justice at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the author of many books, including Psychological Jurisprudence: Critical Explorations in Law, Crime, and Society, also published by SUNY Press. Dragan Milovanovic is Professor of Justice Studies at Northeastern Illinois University and the author of many books, including An Introduction to the Sociology of Law. Robert Carl Schehr is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Northern Arizona University and the author of Dynamic Utopia: Establishing Intentional Communities as a New Social Movement.


"In an effort to overcome the criticism that postmodern theory is negative and impractical, the authors of this volume explore the promise of postmodern theory to generate alternative, liberating, transformative practices in the field of criminal law … [they] invite readers to engage French critical theorists and to imagine the possibilities for applications in the struggle for a more humane society." — Theoretical Criminology

"…what Arrigo, Milovanovic, and Schehr have accomplished with this book is to simplify and reduce many of the complexities of modernity, postmodernity, chaos theory, and other forms of nonlinear reasoning, rendering them understandable for the average reader. This achievement alone is nothing short of remarkable." — Criminal Justice Review

"Anyone who teaches in the field of criminology, socio-legal studies, or, more broadly, justice studies, will at some point have had to face the dearth of textbook materials that provide students with an easily accessible overview and critical analysis of the application of recent theories and models of continental thought to their field of study. One of the aims of this book is to provide teachers and students with precisely such a critical overview. It … does the pedagogical job well." — International Journal for the Semiotics of Law

"This book is the first of its kind. It addresses fundamental epistemological and ontological questions in the pursuit of understanding social and human behavior across a wide spectrum of disciplines and fields of study." — Gregg Barak, author of Violence and Nonviolence: Pathways to Understanding