Crime or Social Harm? A Dialectical Perspective

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32 Citations (Scopus)


This paper proposes to examine some of the core philosophical issues to havearisen out of the recent calls to move “beyond criminology”. It will be claimed that thedismissal of crime as a “fictive event” is premature, as crime does indeed have an“ontological reality”. Nevertheless, it will be asserted that the relation between harm andcrime is contingent rather than necessary. Accordingly, this paper will argue that there ismerit to the claim that we should unify research on social harm through the creation of anew field, a step which would have the added benefit of constructing an alternative venuefor crimes of the powerful scholars who wish to explore the destructive practices of statesand corporations unconstrained. This paper, therefore, will also offer a dialecticaldefinition of social harm based upon classical Marxist strains of ontological thought.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
JournalCrime, Law and Social Change
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 3 Jun 2010


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