guns & crime

James Heartfield Jim at
Wed Oct 18 09:20:50 PDT 2000

In message <p04330101b610bc167aa5@[]>, Doug Henwood <dhenwood at> writes
>Hey since every sociologist seems to be rebranding him/herself as a
>criminologist these days, and economics is imperially taking over the
>other social sciences, that distinction hasn't merely blurred, it's
>largely disappeared!

Over here, sociologist Jock Young was founder of contemporary criminology, founding the criminology centre at Middlesex Polytechnic, where I studied.

Jock had been a member of the International Socialists, and adopted an extremely libertarian line on crime - ie that it was the redistribution of wealth as a young man, before turning to the extreme opposite, a left-wing apologist for the police.

I remember he organised a survey into crime on the Broadwater Estate after the police provoked a riot there, by harassing an afro-Caribbean woman into heart failure. While the police were hated, Young tried to re-establish the case for policing the estate by drawing attention to the need to fight crime. Most people assumed the big crime problem was the police themselves, but Jock worked hard to re-direct them to the problem of muggings and burglaries. Of course, he never said that the problem was black people, but one of the more intriguing proposals he came up with was to whitewash the estate, so young blacks would show up better in silhouette one supposes.

-- James Heartfield

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