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Heath and Potter Furthermore, the authors correct the widespread view that the desire for possessions and the accumulation of consumer goods as well as their criminal appropriation is related to materialism.

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It is not the material value of these goods but their symbolic power which is significant. The book is organized in nine chapters: The introduction 1 is followed by two chapters which detail the line of argumentation from societal changes and the resulting marginalization, leading up to consumption as a means of identification for individuals pursuing criminal activities 2 and 3.

Here, they combine theoretical arguments and empirical illustrations. Chapter 4 reconstructs biographic careers of individuals adding depth to the hypotheses laid out in the previous chapters. After examining criminal careers and identification in detail, Hall, Winlow and Ancrum shift again to the theoretical level and discuss the phenomenon of consumption in the historic and socio-economic or political context 5. Chapters 6 and 7 reflect on the discipline of criminology from a critical, science philosophical perspective by uncovering myths on this topic that have become part of the discipline.

Catalog Record: Criminal identities and consumer culture | HathiTrust Digital Library

Further criticism is directed against conservative or neoliberal currents within criminology and its tradition respectively. For this end, they take their time and space to reflect on the politico-economic embeddedness of criminology as Bourdieu and Wacquant suggest for sociology. The conclusions Ch.


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A typical portrayal pictures a young man who grows up in conditions of severe poverty. Lacking structures of security within his family and without any substantial educational background, he gains access to criminal youths who become his peer group. Long phases of hardship, characterized by poverty and criminality are often disrupted by short, extravagant, excessive phases.

He presents himself as if he had no influence on the course of his biography. He takes a fatalistic stance: Everything is down to luck.

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He takes a pragmatic-utilitarian perspective on his activities drug dealing, thievery, and the like. He does not argue, but narrates; he neither reflects nor moralizes his actions and behavior. For him, the natural and fundamental rule of life and, in general, of the social world requires him to be egoistical, ruthless, neglectful of solidarity, and acting to serve his own interests only. As welcoming as it is that the study stands out due to rich, in-depth and extensive ethnographic research, the more regrettable it is that the authors withhold an explanation of their methodological approach.

I would like to illustrate my remarks with a look at one interview extract Ch. With the money she earns she can afford luxury items: designer clothes, a spacious flat, and valuable furniture. Here the reader encounters an exceptional example from the sample which is otherwise predominantly composed of male burglars and drug dealers.

However, this aspect is not elaborated and no further details are provided. This example raises questions as to how the sample of criminal identities was constituted and what criteria were relevant for the selection. The authors may have considered the link between consumer culture and sex as merchandise — the female body as a consumer good — to be sufficient for their purposes.

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She stresses that she has chosen this occupation herself because she has decided for a life without poverty and desolation. The authors do not explore what this argumentation at present means for her life as experienced. Criminal identities are — following some examples of this book — presented as pieces in the puzzle of consumer society. They are fixed, blend in, fit, and thus, complement the picture of a pathological, unsocial society.

Crime, Exclusion and the New Culture of Narcissm

With a more process-oriented view one can ask: how do criminal biographies vary and alter? Some interpretations leave the reader with just the impression that cultural criminologists actually want to counter, namely to reproduce the labeling of criminality cf. Free delivery worldwide. Bestselling Series. Harry Potter. Popular Features. New Releases. Description This book offers the first in-depth investigation into the relationship between today's criminal identities and consumer culture.

Using unique data taken from criminals locked in areas of permanent recession, the book aims to uncover feelings and attitudes towards a variety of criminal activities, investigating the incorporation of hearts and minds into consumer culture's surrogate social world and highlighting the relationship between the lived identities of active criminals and the socio-economic climate of instability and anxiety that permeates post-industrial Britain.

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This book will be of interest to undergraduates, postgraduates, researchers and lecturers in all fields within the social sciences, but especially criminology, sociology, social policy, politics and anthropology. Product details Format Paperback pages Dimensions x x Table of contents Preface 1. Introduction: the return to motivation 2. Life on the precipice: economic change and acute marginalisation 3. Consumption and identification: some insights into desires and motivations 4. Criminal biographies: two case studies 5.

Consumerism and the counterculture 6. Critical reflections on the intellectual roots on port-war criminological theory 7.


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Myths of exclusion and resistance: a critique of some current thinking on crime and culture 8.