Does the public need criminology?

Ruggiero, Vincenzo ORCID logoORCID: (2020) Does the public need criminology? In: Routledge Handbook of Public Criminologies. Henne, Kathryn and Shah, Rita, eds. Routledge, New York, pp. 238-246. ISBN 9781138479296, e-ISBN 9781351066105. [Book Section] (doi:10.4324/9781351066105-20)

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A notion of ‘public’ has been transmitted to us through the well-known philosopheme of the murdered Chinese. It goes: we are given a magic gift by which, through simply pressing a button, every wish we utter will be immediately granted, but at a price: every time we press the button, one Chinese will die. How many people would refrain from pushing that magic button? This question was posed by Francois-René Chateaubriand first, Honoré de Balzac later and Karl Polanyi later still (Brie, 2017).
This notion of ‘public’ incorporates an obligation to assume responsibility for the lives of others, protect society as a whole and, as Immanuel Kant put it, embrace a form of world patriotism. This contribution will set off by explaining how difficult it is for criminology as an academic discipline to accept such an obligation. Three sets of difficulties will be highlighted: first, those experienced by criminologists; second, those suffered by the public; and third, those challenging public action and social movements.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords (uncontrolled): Law, politics & international relations, social sciences
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology > Centre for Criminological and Social Research (CSRC)
Item ID: 29351
Notes on copyright: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge/CRC Press in Routledge Handbook of Public Criminologies on 29/01/2020, available online:
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Depositing User: Vincenzo Ruggiero
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2020 14:30
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2022 23:36

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