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Central to critical criminology’s reformist agenda is the status of the self in society and the structural forces that undermine or thwart human capital. This research paper historicizes and culturalizes these concerns, mindful of the global political economy. Four specific aspects of the critique include (1) the problem of reification; (2) the risk, captivity, and harm thesis; (3) the criminology of the shadow; and (4) the criminology of the stranger. These issues are discussed in relation to critical criminology’s evolving commitment to humanism, citizenship, and social justice.
- The Problem of Reification
- Marx and Reification
- The Situationists and Reification
- The Hyper-Realists and Reification
- The Risk–Captivity–Harm Thesis
- The Criminology of the Shadow
- The Symbolic Realm and the Ultramodern Shadow
- The Linguistic Realm and the Ultramodern Shadow
- The Material Realm and the Ultramodern Shadow
- The Cultural Realm and the Ultramodern Shadow
- The Criminology of the Stranger
While traditional criminology seeks to empirically account for the phenomena of crime and deviance, its critical counterpart endeavors to systematically explain the structural problems that plague veritable existence. Thus, at its philosophical core, critical criminology intends to identify and expose extant sociocultural conditions and arrangements that undermine or thwart the potential forces of human capital. This potential extends from the aesthetical (i.e., the realm of consumerism) to the epistemological (i.e., the realm of politics), from the ethical (i.e., the realm of technology) to the ontological (i.e., the realm of culture). This research paper describes the interdependent and interconnected flows, intensities, and assemblages that situate or define human capital (i.e., possibilities in being/ becoming), and from which this unrealized in-and-of-society self makes choice and undertakes action. In addition, the research paper discusses the present-day challenge of critical criminology to critique and assess the human agency – social structure dynamics in a globalized and informationalized political economy. This is the challenge of ‘ultramodern’ society.
The Problem of Reification
At the core of critical commentary is the notion of reification. According to Hungarian philosopher Georg Lukacs, reification occurs when “the subject and social relations become objectlike, thing-like, abstract, and commodity-like” (Baldwin 2009: p. 381; see also Lukacs, 1971). This “thingification” (Baldwin, 2009: p. 381) process unfolds when humans assign object-like qualities to their constructions and ideologies, which are then perceived as “facts of nature, [the] result of cosmic laws, or manifestations of divine will” (Berger and Luckmann, 1966: p. 33). In other words, reification fosters a state in which the distinction between the social person and objects outside the self are, in essence, no longer discernible. This section delineates the three historical and cultural shifts that have abstracted the social person’s humanness. These abstractions constitute inversions in being and becoming; harms to human capital.
Marx and Reification
German philosopher Karl Marx’s economic theory concerning class consciousness and the “abstraction of the worker” (Arrigo, 2006: p. 45) principally defined the first shift. In the political economy of capitalism, he argued that an economic formula of this kind required the perpetual circulation of money (i.e., capital). However, as Marx reasoned, the accumulation of wealth generated by labor mostly served the interests of bourgeoisie or capitalist interests (i.e., acquiring through production) rather than proletariat or laborer needs (i.e., being self and other sufficient through production). The dialectical flows and intensities that followed from such conflicting worldviews fueled collectivist struggle to overcome the harm-sustaining acquisitive conditions of production (see e.g., Lynch and Michalowski, 2006). Indeed, as Marx (1990) asserted, in the capitalist mode of production, the intrinsic use-value of one’s labor is assigned a fixed, although artificial, exchange (i.e., monetary) value capable of being purchased in the marketplace. In this way, the worker and the product of one’s labor are, in essence, rendered a commodity. Marx (1990) described this concept as follows:
Not an atom of matter enters into the objectivity of commodities as values; in this it is the direct opposite of the coarsely sensuous objectivity of commodities as physical objects. We may twist and turn a single commodity as we wish; it remains impossible to grasp it as a thing possessing value. However, let us remember that commodities possess an objective character as values only in so far as they are all expressions of an identical social substance, human labor, that their objective character as values is therefore purely social. From this it follows self-evidently that it can only appear in the social relation between commodity and commodity. (pp. 138–139)
Made abstract, Marx (1995) posited that the worker “sinks to the level of a commodity and becomes indeed the most wretched of commodities” (p. 70). Accordingly, qualities inherent to the worker/social person’s humanness, such as love, virtue, and conscience, “enter into commerce” (Marx, 1995: p. 36), altering the nature of the human relationship from one of authentic interaction to one of mere transaction. As Fromm (1994) noted,
It becomes [the individual’s] fate to contribute to the growth of the economic system, to amass capital, not for the purpose of [one’s] own happiness or salvation, but as an end in itself. [The individual thus becomes] a cog in the vast economic machine – an important one if he [or she] has capital, an insignificant one if he [or she] has none – but always a cog to serve a purpose outside of the [self ]. (p. 110)
In the political economy of capitalism, then, the notion of having rather than being/becoming (or acquiring rather than creating) dangerously and perniciously prevails, thereby disrupting intrinsic social bonds and alienating possibility/ potential for collectivist good. Critical commentators have contended that this state of captivity through consumption (see e.g., Chambliss and Seidman, 1971; Quinney, 1974) – which Marx (1990) described as commodity fetishism – extends from “the kept (workers) to their keepers (factory owners), from their managers (institutional decision-brokers) to their watchers (state government bureaucrats)” (Arrigo and Milovanovic, 2009; see also e.g., Rusche and Kirchheimer, 1968; Pashukanis, 2002).
The Situationists and Reification
Drawing upon Marx’s commodity concept, a group of predominately European activists known as the Situationists responded to what they viewed as the second major shift or transition concerning the problem of reification. As information technology advanced under late capitalism, these social and cultural theorists sought to challenge the ways in which the mass media manufactured imitative realities (e.g., by way of government propaganda) and stylized consumerism (e.g., by way of crass commercialism). The conspicuous presence of these political economic conditions sustained the decline of being/becoming into having, and transformed the ontological status of having into vacuous appearing (Debord, 1983). In response to this state of affairs, the Situationists mobilized, organized, and promoted the notion of constructing situations, or environments, to counter what they took to be the increasing degradation or abstraction of the social person (Debord, 1983; Lukacs, 1971).
Guy Debord (1983), a leader in the Situationist movement, developed the concept of the spectacle to explain the way in which late capitalism engendered an insidious form of hegemonic repression and alienation. In his compilation of theses, entitled The Society of the Spectacle, Debord (1983) contended that “[i]n societies dominated by modern conditions of production, life is presented as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has receded into a representation” (thesis 1). Thus, following Debord, the social person’s humanness is further reified by way of images that depict only fabricated and fictionalized constructions (i.e., spectacles) of meaningful life. When these contrived representations are culturalized (i.e., circulated for mass consumer consumption), they become the image-crafted commodities of a consumer society driven insatiably by illusions. This, then, is the “moment when the commodity [as appearance] attains the total consumption of social life” (Debord, 1983: p. 42). Under these conditions, matter and materiality are supplanted by replicas and façades. Indeed, the self in society as human capital is further abstracted through the iterative reproduction of liquid identities and simulated realities that caricaturize, sensationalize, and derealize visceral (i.e., embodied) existence (Bauman, 2000).
The Hyper-Realists and Reification
The third historical and cultural shift was marked by the hyperrealists. Following the Situationists’ notion of the spectacle (appearing over being/becoming), these thinkers chiefly concerned themselves with discerning whether contrived representations (i.e., images of reality) were more real than the reality on which they (these representations) were based. In response, the hyperrealists proposed a novel social theory that “elevated the commodification of illusion to a novel and disturbing (alienating) level of abstraction” (Arrigo and Bersot, 2013).
One of the preeminent hyperrealists, French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, asserted that postmodern societies are not organized around production and consumption (i.e., having) as Marx maintained. Rather, Baudrillard (1968, 1972) argued that social life in the new reification era was mediated by simulation. This was an era that no longer made sustainable the replication of appearance over being/becoming as a cultural artifact. In its place, simulation (i.e., the replication and proliferation of image) made coded meanings (systems of communication) the essential artifacts of culture. Indeed, in a digitized information age, reality (or the appearance of it) becomes irrelevant (Baudrillard, 1983a, 1983b). The ascendancy of the code’s status (and with it the ungrounding of existence and its manifold illusions), led Baudrillard (1993) to conclude that social life as we knew it had ended. As he proclaimed,
The end of labor. The end of production. The end of political economy. The end of the signifier/signified dialectic which facilitates the accumulation of knowledge and of meaning, the linear syntagma of cumulative discourse. And at the same time, the end simultaneously of the exchange value/use value dialectic which is the only thing that makes accumulation and social production possible. The end of linear dimensions of discourse. The end of the linear dimension of the commodity. The end of the classical era of the sign. The end of the era of production. (p. 8)
As such, Baudrillard (1983a) suggested that within postmodern culture, significance, or value, could only be expressed through sign-exchange-value. In this new epoch, commodity forms “circulate in the marketplace of signs, anchored, although temporarily, in the dominant sign meanings assigned to them in a particular political economy” (Arrigo, 2006: p. 48). Consequently, as several critical criminologists and cultural critics have warned, this consumption, hypervigilantly reproduced and panoptically (Foucault, 1977) and synoptically (Mathiesen, 1997) disseminated, signifies nothing real other than the fictionalized fear that it feeds for a simulated society of commodified captives (Arrigo and Bersot, 2013; Delanda, 2006; Dyer-Witheford, 1999). Thus, in the hyperreal society, “there is no longer a real to be recovered behind the illusion [and, thus,] there is no illusion either” (Best, 1989: p. 37). Given these conditions of reification, human capital’s potential is obliterated.
The Risk–Captivity–Harm Thesis
Recent developments in critical criminology point to reification and how this problem is related to a larger cultural crisis (Arrigo, 2010, 2011, 2012). Specifically, commentators assert that what is reified is (1) risk or excessive investments in fear mongering that manages difference or human capital as sameness through reductive/repress mechanisms and techniques; (2) captivity or the confinement of individual and collectivist consciousness that follows from nurturing or sustaining such mundane risk management practices; and (3) harm or the recursive restrictions that limit possibilities in being and/or deny potentials in becoming for and about one and all when difference is reduced to and repressed by serialized codes. These reifications constitute the cultural crisis of the present ultramodern era. In this section, risk, captivity, and harm and the unreflective maintenance of the thesis are discussed.
Contemporary critical thinkers contend that what is cultivated within a culture of consumption is risk-minded systemic pathology (Fromm, 1994) that silences dissent and suppresses difference. Indeed, current political economic conditions worldwide are indicative of what Beck (1992; see also 2009) termed the ‘risk society.’ The resulting social disease fosters negative freedom (freedom from rather than freedom to) (Fromm, 1994), and is perhaps made most disturbingly apparent in the industry of crime. The rapid development of penal institutions and their exploitation of inmate labor, the trade in diversion courts, and the vast expansion of surveillance policing are deemed “healthy, natural and inevitable threat-avoidance progress” (Arrigo and Bersot, 2013). Although such measures promote economic growth consistent with capitalism in the ultramodern era, some critical scholars posit that the industry of crime normalizes violence by way of engendering a palpable sense of abject fear among the citizenry (Simon, 2009). This is fear with transnational harm-intensifying human consequences (Bauman, 1998).
To illustrate, consider the dramatic surge in surveillance technology. These monitoring mechanisms and techniques – defined by some as emblematic of the “prison-release-reincarnation abstract machine” (Arrigo, 2012: p. 441; see also Arrigo and Milovanovic, 2009; Deleuze and Guattari, 1987) – include radio frequency identification (e.g., to supervise registered sex offenders within the community) and global positioning systems (e.g., to locate diverted juveniles) (Bowling et al., 2009; Grabosky, 1998). While the expressed aim of these measures may be to protect the public, “risk” is “connected to future offenders, not victims” (Schinkel, 2011: p. 370). Thus, they (these mechanisms and techniques of surveillance) are deployed to manage potential crime rather than respond to actual crime.
Derivative in its consumerism and digital in its politics, this machine serializes (i.e., makes abstract, deontologizes) the experiences of crime and justice, law and order, violence and victimization by semiotically reducing and repressing objects, events, and individuals to nothing more than informational (i.e., coded) utility. Biopolitical tattooing, social sorting, and prepression are all measures that have been created and/or reintroduced as means to manage risk – eliminating difference and imposing sameness within society. Biopolitical tattooing involves inspecting and monitoring the very body of an individual by way of subcutaneous tattoos and finger and retina prints (Agamben, 2004). Social sorting refers to the way in which (inter)national surveillance measures, particularly in the post-9/11 world, are “coded to categorize personal data such that people [digitally identified as potential threats].may be treated differently” (Lyon, 2007: p. 162; see also 2003 and 2006). Prepression is a “combination of prevention and repression [that] entails the archiving of risky individuals (e.g., children who display problematic behavior) and their selection for ‘early intervention’” (Schinkel, 2011: p. 365).
What emerges from these hyperreal meaning-making/ generating risk practices is captivity. The harm of this captivity extends to and from the kept (i.e., those incarcerated, civilly committed, and otherwise subjected to inspection and monitoring within the community), their keepers (e.g., correctional staff and police officers), their regulators (e.g., policy makers, judges, and correctional administrators), and their watchers (i.e., the public) (Arrigo et al., 2011). Indeed, the quality of this captivity is one that confines individual and collectivist consciousness. Drawing upon Foucault’s (1977) work on the disciplinary society, French philosopher Gilles Deleuze (1992) proposed the notion of the control society. He described this intellectual transition as follows:
In the societies of control, on the other hand, what is important is no longer either a signature or a number, but a code: the code is a password, while on the other hand disciplinary societies are regulated by watchwords (as much as from the point of view of integration as from that of resistance). The numerical language of control is made of codes that mark access to information, or reject it. We no longer find ourselves dealing with the mass/individual pair. Individuals have become “dividuals,” and masses, samples, data, markets, or “banks.” [.] The disciplinary [subject] was a discontinuous producer of energy, but the [subject or person] of control is undulatory, in orbit, in a continuous network. (Deleuze, 1992: p. 6)
Thus, the society of control reduces and represses human subjectivity by way of propagating fear about would-be offending/offenders through the numeric serialization of human capital. This fear induces a sense of complacency toward the ubiquity of surveillance technology and its disturbing risk-management flows, intensities, and assemblages (i.e., tagging, tracking, neutralizing, and eliminating would-be offenders). Although such technologies seemingly ameliorate collective anxieties about the deviant (e.g., juveniles whose violent tendencies belie their youthful innocence), the diseased (e.g., sex offenders who are incapable of being cured from their perverse proclivities), and the potential dangerousness of both constituencies, the ‘informationalizing’ that follows from the control society is normalized harm. The violence of this informationalizing implicates – and captivates – one and all. By vanquishing difference (i.e., derealizing it through its serialized coding), the resulting harm territorializes freedom, citizenship, and social justice and their embodied human capital significations. Thus, greater possibilities in being and increased prospects for becoming are constrained or foreclosed.
The Criminology of the Shadow
Amidst the ultramodern crisis are troubling conditions of control that interdependently sustain the criminology of the shadow (Arrigo, 2008, 2012; Arrigo and Williams, 2009). Finding its origins in Plato’s (2008) appearance/reality thesis, the shadow represents a critique of the in-and-of-society self (Arrigo, 2011, 2012). The criminological status to which this crisis refers is the social person’s reification captured within and subjected to four forces of destabilizing influence. These interdependent, mutually supporting, and coproductive forces or control conditions consist of symbolic (aesthetic), linguistic (epistemological), material (ethical), and cultural (ontological) flows, intensities, and assemblages. The harms sustained by these influencing conditions extend to and from the kept (i.e., those confined), their keepers (i.e., those who confine), their managers (i.e., those who administrate confinement), and their watchers (i.e., those who observe confinement) (Arrigo et al., 2011; Arrigo and Milovanovic, 2009). The section below delineates the conditions of control and the violence that is normalized (i.e., totalizing madness that is made healthy and normative) by way of these captivating forces.
The Symbolic Realm and the Ultramodern Shadow
The Symbolic Realm and the Ultramodern Shadow The symbolic realm consists of sign-exchange-value. Sign-exchange-value refers to the images, or symbolic constructions, that are mobilized and activated in the unconscious. Although always fragmented or incomplete, these images (i.e., pictures in our minds) mediate prevailing articulations (i.e., master discourses) (Lacan, 1977, 1981) for and about the same. This includes mental constructions for and about offenders and victims; institutional and community-based treatment for these citizen groups or from these governmental entities; and agency, responsibility, and choice for all stakeholders. Thus, for example, what images are conjured in one’s mind (dominate individual and collectivist consciousness) when it comes to juvenile delinquents, mentally ill individuals, and sexually violent predators? If the imagined construction tells the story of delinquency, disease, and dangerousness (i.e., the social person is defined only as the ‘lack’ in discourse), then much is missing from such psychic configurations. This is the self in society as mere shadow in mental representation. Conversely, image-crafting the social person as delinquent, diseased, and dangerous human potential involves the production and circulation of speech that, although incomplete, affirms this yet-to-be-fully envisioned subjectivity (Lacan, 1977, 1981). What is hidden through the ascendancy of the master discourse is a “struggle whose aesthetic intensity (about human agency) and force (concerning structural meaning) dangerously (i.e., panoptically and synoptically) linger as desperation and fear respectively” (Arrigo and Bersot, 2013). Thus, the struggle in being/becoming entails recognizing and transforming circumscribed, although dominant, symbolic constructions that are consumed by way of sign-exchange-value. These images incompletely symbolize human capital’s potential.
The Linguistic Realm and the Ultramodern Shadow
The linguistic realm consists of sign-exchange-value emanating from the unconscious that is translated into speech or the written word. Because the symbolic realm consists of inadequate and partial representations, the text that emerges from this imaging is likewise unfinished and insufficient. Indeed, the unconscious narrative that flows from these symbolizations “communicates less than (produces less about) who we are or could become” (Arrigo and Bersot, 2013). What is produced through this semiotic process is the mass-marketing of fictions about human capital manifested by way of the ‘presencing’ (privileging) of selected knowledge. “As narrative, [this preferred text] enters the marketplace of sign-exchange-value and recounts the struggle of the [social person] in its own governing voice. This voice tells of desperation and fear through the epistemology of logocentrism and the metaphysics of presence” (Arrigo and Bersot, 2013; see also Derrida, 1973, 1977, 1978). The concept of logocentrism suggests that what is most readily accessible to consciousness is that which is fundamentally defined as good and virtuous. Thus, the values attached to these discernible and manifest notions are rendered true and absolute. However, under these textual conditions, the narrative that is produced and reproduced is one that tends toward finalization (Bakhtin, 1982). This is the self in society as mere shadow in words. When these fragmented renditions of truth, progress, science, and human potential are written and rewritten, the possibilities for articulating alternative narratives are forestalled or, worst, excluded (Deleuze, 1983). As such, the texts for and about the social person’s emergent possibilities in being and becoming await emancipation and inscription.
The Material Realm and the Ultramodern Shadow
The ethos of the material realm entails inhabiting the favored texts of human potential – and all their incompletenesses and partialities – as lived history, as embodied truth. These truths materialize as systems of thought and bodies of knowledge (e.g., in psychiatry, law, penology, social work, education, and the like) that domesticate and discipline the social person’s humanness. This domestication and disciplining is power materialized corporeally. Biopower relies on techniques and mechanisms that depathologize (Foucault, 1965, 1977) and territorialize (Deleuze, 1983) being/ becoming. Under these material conditions, “difference is vanquished., identity is homogenized, and community is sanitized” (Arrigo et al., 2011: p. 165; Arrigo, 2010). This is the self in society as mere shadow in its embodiments. Indeed, as Fromm (1994) cautioned when diagnosing the status of the captured social person,
The individual ceases to be [and] adopts entirely the kind of personality offered to him [or her] by the cultural patterns; and [the individual] therefore becomes exactly as all others are and as they expect [the individual] to be. The discrepancy between “I” and the world disappears and with it the conscious fear of aloneness and powerlessness.[t]he person who gives up his [or her] individual self becomes an automaton, identical with millions of other automatons.[and] need not feel alone or anxious anymore. But the price [the individual] pays, however, is high; it is the loss of the self. (p. 184)
Under these material conditions, then, subjects are rendered docile bodies amenable to the will of the state (Foucault, 1977: p. 210; see also Arrigo et al., 2005). What is normalized by way of this domestication and disciplining is violence corporealized (i.e., the self and other habitations of captivity’s shadow).
The Cultural Realm and the Ultramodern Shadow
The cultural realm encompasses the sphere of replication and dissemination – in image, text, and bodies of knowledge. Given the partial portraits, incomplete texts, and disembodied systems of knowledge that govern human capital, caricatured representations of each prevail in the ultramodern age. This is the era of digital interconnectivity and hyperreal informationonly interdependency. This is the condition of carnival consumption (Carrabine, 2008), fast capitalism (Agger, 1989), and liquid identities (Bauman, 2000) in which the virtual rather than the visceral, the sensational over the sensual is ontologized (Arrigo et al., 2011). What is absent in this culturalizing of the social person is human potential as being/ becoming – as yet-to-be imagined, spoken, scripted, and inhabited productivity. What remains, then, is the self in and of society as mere shadow in its cultural artifacts and political economic abstractions. This is human potential restricted in images, texts, and systems of thought that are simulated derivatively serially, and ubiquitously.
When these collective conditions of control are maintained and nurtured as healthy and normative pathways to progress, the all-encompassing consumption of the criminological shadow is made more immanent. Currently, the intersection of image, language, embodied subjectivity, and their cultural reproductions reify fragments and fictions of human capital. Sustaining these conditions is madness. Succumbing uncritically to these limits on and denials of being/becoming is totalizing madness (Arrigo et al., 2011). Recognizing and overcoming the human capital harm of this captivity is a journey in the making; it is a revolution for people yet to come (Deleuze and Guattari, 1987).
The Criminology of the Stranger
As described previously, the coproductive, mutually supporting, and interdependent flows, intensities, and assemblages of ultramodernity exert symbolic, linguistic, and material force on the self in society. The current cultural artifacts and political economic abstractions that emerge from these exertions sustain harm-intensifying/generating conditions of control. These influencing conditions reduce possibilities in being and repress prospects for becoming. Consequently, the quality of citizenship and the character of social justice are less than what they could be for, by and about one and all. The ultramodern journey that awaits development is the exploration, cultivation, and occupation of novel and derelict flows, intensities, and assemblages. This is habitus – the horizon of perception, thought, and action (Bourdieu, 1977) – as experimental, creative, and dynamic. When habitus is envisioned, spoken of, and practiced as such, it provides the positional, relational, and provisional grounding from within which human capital’s potential as productive change (as freedom) can emerge. This undertaking, then, is a mutating and unfamiliar revolution for people yet to be (Arrigo and Milovanovic, 2009).
The counterpoint to the criminological shadow is the criminological stranger (Arrigo and Milovanovic, 2009). The stranger seeks to liberate the desiring subject (i.e., the social person in captivity) from harm-intensifying/generating abstractions. The stranger’s evolving flows, intensities, and assemblages offer a way out of the ultramodern crisis of reified madness that the criminological shadow fetishizes and normalizes. This ‘way out’ includes departures in theory (the consumerism of critical mindfulness), method (the politics of difference), and praxis (the corporealizations of excellence). These exits are briefly discussed, especially in relation to their capacity to reconceive critical criminology in ways that hold the nearest promise to unleash and harness dormant human capital.
As a departure in theory, the journey entails embracing a cosmopolitan imagination (Delanty, 2009). This is image, language, and embodied subjectivity reconceived within the jurisprudence, the landscape, of the mind. This cosmopolitanism symbolizes (image crafts) ‘offenders,’ ‘victims,’ ‘crime,’ ‘punishment,’ ‘recovery,’ ‘human agency,’ ‘social structure,’ etc. differently (e.g., doing drug treatment and recovery another way; doing victim offender mediation another way; doing community policing another way). These are mental constructions that are resistant to closure, to the finalization of being, and to the criminological shadow’s reification. To access this “reservoir of desire” (Arrigo and Bersot, 2013), the master discourses that govern consciousness must be excavated and deterritorialized (Deleuze and Guattari, 1987) for their harm-producing tendencies. These tendencies include the normalization of violence that renders the social person’s difference (one’s human potential) as lacking in consciousness. Deterritorialization is genealogical in its operation. It involves mining and uprooting the unconscious, its topography, and the Oedipal and capital logics that the psychic apparatus both privileges and endorses (Arrigo and Milovanovic, 2009). Critical criminology’s challenge by way of cosmopolitanism, then, is to disassemble the hyperreal shadows of difference that criminology reproduces, and to reterritorialize (i.e., reassemble, reconstruct) criminology’s serialized terrain in ways that harness will to power (Nietzsche, 1968). Power refers to desire (latent being/ becoming) mobilized in the service of unleashing human capital’s potential. The consumerism of critical mindfulness awaits additional theoretical development and amplification.
As a methodological exit, the criminology of the stranger entails movement outside of consciousness to the texts that narrate or tell the story of law and order, freedom and punishment, offenders and victims, treatment and recovery, self and society, etc. This movement – situated within the flows of deterritorialization and reterritorialization – entails journeying as a being toward difference, tending ever more so toward dynamic and transformative (rather than unchanged and uniformed) descriptions of human capital. These are the narratives of how the social person (e.g., as a recovering drug abuser, exincarcerate, and mental health consumer) makes overcoming possible because of, rather than despite, one’s status as addict, convict, or patient. The challenge of critical criminology is to speak of, write about, and circulate these creative, provocative, and experimental stories of overcoming through difference. These narratives constitute a ‘strange’ humanness whose inscriptions tell of human capital’s uncharted possibilities in being and unexplored prospects for becoming. This difference implicates one and all in an era that reifies hyperreality; derealizes risk, captivity, and harm; and serially codes the criminological shadow. The ‘politics’ of difference as method awaits further analytical refinement.
As a venture in praxis, the criminological stranger seeks to produce different lived histories about crime making and peace building, citizenship and community, and agency and structure. This is embodied subjectivity steeped in replacement systems of thought and alternative bodies of knowledge that manufacture mutating habits of excellence (Aristotle, 1976). This excellence or flourishing is human capital corporealized differently, as being/becoming virtuous. What is corporealized is human capital’s dynamic potential lived ever more courageously, compassionately, responsibly, generously, etc. when studying crime; making peace; doing citizenship; residing within neighborhoods; and inhabiting class, race, and gender categories or their intersectional configurations. These embodiments transform the social person into a subject in-process (i.e., embodying one’s difference another way). Critical criminology’s challenge, then, is to occupy (territorialize) absent bodies of knowledge and heterodox systems of thought through mutating habits of excellence. This is the evolving journey of becoming ethically revolutionary. The proposed revolution dignifies, honors, and affirms all those within the society of captives and extols the potential forces that emancipate human capital. The corporealizations of excellence as praxis await supplementary and systematic delineation.
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