What is a Crime?: Defining Criminal Conduct in Contemporary Society

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UBC Press, 2004 - Social Science - 194 pages
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We all have notions of what it means to commit a crime. Most of us are very much aware of the behaviours which, by law, constitute crime. Rarely, however, do we stop to consider why certain activities and behaviours are deemed criminal and others are not. A brilliant and provocative volume, What Is A Crime? forces us to reconsider both how we define criminal conduct in contemporary society, and how we respond to it once it has been identified.

Drawing from diverse scholarly traditions -- including law, sociology, criminology and socio-legal studies -- contributors to this collection reflect on the processes of defining crime, and consider the varied and complex implications of our decisions to criminalize certain unwanted behaviour. Employing various case studies, the contributors reflect on the social processes that inform definitions of crime, criminal law, and its enforcement, while illuminating the subjective nature of crime and questioning the role of law in dealing with complex social issues. Collectively, the authors provide a critical dialogue on law and governance in contemporary society.

What Is A Crime? will be of interest to a broad spectrum of readers with an interest in the governance of crime and its control in contemporary society. Students and scholars of law, sociology, political science, philosophy, and criminology will find this book invaluable in furthering their understanding of the processes of defining and responding to crime and criminal behaviour. It will also hold sway with policymakers, criminal justice practitioners, and anyone with a stake in our current approaches to crime.

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About the author (2004)

The Law Commission of Canada is an independent federal law reform agency that advises Parliament on how to improve and modernize Canada’s laws.

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