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The rule of law and the political economy of criminalisation: an agenda for research

Lacey, Nicola (2013) The rule of law and the political economy of criminalisation: an agenda for research. Punishment & Society, 15 (4). pp. 349-366. ISSN 1462-4745

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Identification Number: 10.1177/1462474513500619


This article argues for an institutional approach to criminalisation scholarship, drawing on historical and comparative methodologies, and on the resources of several disciplines including law, sociology and political science. It goes on to sketch the sort of research agenda which is implied by that approach, with a view to laying the intellectual building blocks for a broad political economy of criminalisation within modern societies committed to the Rechsstaat/rule of law. The article describes how this framework developed out of recent work in the apparently discrete fields of historical and of comparative studies, of doctrinal analysis of criminal law, and of socio-political analysis of criminal punishment in modern societies. The main outlines of these projects are set out in the first part of the article, which then moves on to consider how they may be brought into dialogue so as to inform the construction of a further research agenda. This agenda, which seeks to contribute to the building of a general understanding of the place of criminalisation and punishment within the governance frameworks of various kinds of social order which share a commitment to Rechtsstaat/rule of law ideals, is sketched in the third part of the paper. In conclusion, the article argues that such a research agenda implies an expansive conception of punishment and society scholarship.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 Sage
Divisions: Law
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Sets: Departments > Law
Research centres and groups > Mannheim Centre for Criminology
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2013 14:52
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 00:48

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