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The resurgence of character: responsibility in the context of criminalization

Lacey, Nicola (2011) The resurgence of character: responsibility in the context of criminalization. In: Duff, R. A. and Green, Stuart, (eds.) Philosophical Foundations of Criminal Law. Philosophical foundations of law. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, p. 152. ISBN 9780199559152

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Identification Number: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199559152.003.0008


This chapter further develops the diagnosis of a revival of character in contemporary criminal law. First, it offers a more differentiated conceptual framework for identifying the waxing and waning influence of character in criminal law. In doing so it sets out, deliberately, from a broad definition of character as a pattern or practice of responsibility-attribution which is premised in whole or in part on an evaluation or estimation of the quality of the defendant's (manifested or assumed) disposition as distinct from his or her conduct. Second, drawing on this broad model of character, the chapter demonstrates the variety of ways in which contemporary criminal law is marked by a resurgence of character. Third, it sketches an extra-doctrinal explanation of why we have seen a resurgence of interest in and reliance on ideas of character responsibility: one which finds the roots of the ideology of responsibility which shapes the criminal law in broad practices of criminalization, themselves influenced by a political, economic, and social context. Finally, it draws some conclusions from this analysis for methodology in criminal law theory, and in particular for the appropriateness of a framework which locates its interpretation of criminal responsibility primarily within a conceptual analysis of legal doctrine in isolation from its context.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Divisions: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Date Deposited: 22 May 2013 09:25
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 01:17

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