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The University of Southampton
Southampton Ethics Centre

Crime, Justice and the Liberalism of Fear Event

Professor Ian Loader
26 April 2017
Nuffield Lecture Theatre A

For more information regarding this event, please email Dr Harry Annison at .

Event details

What has it meant to be a ‘liberal’ in recent controversies about crime control? In this lecture I set out to answer this question. My argument is that a particular variant of liberal ideology – termed by Judith Shklar ‘the liberalism of fear’ – has contested the politics of criminal justice over recent decades. This variant of liberalism is an ideology of protection – shaped by memory not hope, focused on cruelty and its prevention, worried about ‘excesses of official agents at every level of government’. My purpose in the lecture - which forms part of an extended project entitled ‘In search of a better politics of crime’ – is to offer a rational reconstruction of this strand of liberal ideology. What are its central commitments? What vision of crime governance does it articulate and defend? What are its virtues, and its faults and silences? What elements of this worldview should a better politics of crime retain, discard or adapt? In the aftermath of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, when liberal ideals are contested and in retreat, this kind of ideological appraisal seems both an important and pressing task. Ian Loader is Professor of Criminology and Professorial Fellow of All Souls College, University of Oxford. Ian has published widely on policing, private security, public sensibilities towards crime, penal policy and culture, the politics of crime control, and the public roles of criminology. His recent books include: Public Criminology? (with Richard Sparks, Routledge, 2011), Democratic Theory and Mass Incarceration (edited with Albert Dzur and Richard Sparks, Oxford UP, 2016) and The SAGE Handbook of Global Policing (edited with Ben Bradford, Bea Jauregui and Jonny Steinberg, 2016). He is Editor-in-Chief of the Howard Journal of Crime and Justice. Ian is currently working on a project entitled ‘In Search of a Better Politics of Crime’ funded by the Independent Social Research Foundation.

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Speaker information

Professor Ian Loader,Centre for Criminology, Oxford University,Ian arrived in Oxford in July 2005 having previously taught at Keele University and the University of Edinburgh, from where he also obtained his PhD in 1993. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts.

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