Just Sociology

The Interconnection of Late Modernity and Criminal Behavior: A Sociological Analysis

The advent of post/late modern society has brought about significant changes in numerous spheres of human activity. One of the areas where these changes have been most apparent is in the nature and prevalence of criminal behavior.

This article seeks to examine how key social changes, including the rise of the consumer society, globalization, de-industrialization, celebrity culture, and individualization, have influenced criminal behavior. Additionally, it will provide an analysis of key theories that explain these changes in crime patterns, including Jock Young’s theory of late modernity, exclusion, and crime; Katz and Lyng’s cultural criminology of ‘edgework; Simon Winlow’s research on working-class men and violence, and Foucault’s concept of disciplinary power and surveillance.

The second half of the article will explore the changing nature of punishment and control in post/late modern society, with a particular focus on the shift from violent to psychological punishment, Foucault’s theory of surveillance as a method of control, and the implications of these developments for society as a whole.

Key social changes influencing criminal behavior

Late modernity is characterized by a myriad of social changes that have profoundly influenced criminal behavior. The rise of the consumer society, globalization, de-industrialization, celebrity culture, and individualization all contribute to this shift.

In particular, the uneven distribution of wealth and resources, along with the moral individualism that accompanies late modernity, has led to new forms of exclusion, poverty, and anomie that exacerbate criminal behavior. Jock Young’s theory of late modernity, exclusion, and crime

Jock Young’s theory of crime and social exclusion emphasizes the concept of late modernity, where the decline of traditional industries has led to the collapse of certain communities and the growth of others.

In particular, Young argues that the exclusion of certain groups from mainstream society creates a vacuum that is filled by crime, which becomes a means of inclusion among other excluded members. Exclusion is not just material, but also extends to symbolic and cultural dimensions and is manifest in extreme forms of crime.

Katz and Lyng’s cultural criminology of ‘edgework’

Katz and Lyng’s theory of ‘edgework’ suggests that criminal behavior, particularly violent crime and deviant behavior, is driven by the emotional and sensory experiences that accompany such activities. In the risk-based society that characterizes late modernity, individuals are drawn to activities that are perceived to be dangerous, as they offer an opportunity to flirt with danger and to seek a sensory experience that is usually unavailable in their daily lives.

Simon Winlow’s research on working-class men and violence

Winlow’s research highlights how the declining opportunities for working-class men have led to increased levels of violence and deviant behavior in these communities. The rise of binge-drinking, combined with low-status work and the demand for entertainment-oriented violence, has led to a culture of violence that is frequently directed inwards.

Thrill-seeking behaviors, coupled with a lack of legitimate opportunities, have led to high levels of violent behavior among this demographic. Foucault’s concept of disciplinary power and surveillance

Foucault’s concept of disciplinary power focuses on the shift from sovereign power to discipline in late modern societies.

Disciplinary power operates not only through formal mechanisms such as law enforcement and punishment but also through constant surveillance and the creation of an environment in which obedience is socially enforced. Individuals who are excluded from society or who deviate from accepted norms are identified, monitored, and controlled via disciplinary mechanisms.

Surveillance thus becomes a form of behavior control and has winners and losers.

Shift from violent to psychological punishment

The shift from violent to psychological punishment in late modern societies can be seen as a response to a host of social changes that have eroded traditional forms of social control. Prisons have failed to reduce crime, and the punitive approach has largely resulted in further exclusion and marginalization of offenders.

As a result, there has been a growing acceptance of psychological approaches that seek to understand and treat the underlying causes of criminal behavior, rather than punishing it. Foucault’s theory of surveillance as a method of control

Foucault’s theory of surveillance emphasizes the ways in which constant monitoring and surveillance are used as a method of control.

In late modern societies, surveillance is all-pervasive, ranging from electronic surveillance to social media monitoring. The goal is not just to detect and punish deviance but also to prevent its occurrence.

The effect is to create a society in which obedience is expected and where dissent is identified, monitored, and suppressed using various disciplinary mechanisms. In conclusion, late modernity is characterized by a host of social changes that have significantly influenced criminal behavior.

The rise of the consumer society, globalization, de-industrialization, celebrity culture, and individualization all contribute to this shift. Likewise, changing patterns of punishment and control reflect these changes, with the punitive approach giving way to psychological interventions and the widespread use of surveillance as a means of social control.

Together, these developments reveal the ways in which social change is deeply interconnected with criminal behavior, punishment, and control. In conclusion, the article has explored the complex theories behind changing crime patterns and the nature of punishment and control in post/late modern society.

Key social changes, including the rise of a consumer society and globalization, have facilitated the emergence of new forms of criminal behavior, while social exclusion, technological developments, and shifts in economic structures have contributed to the changing nature of punishment and control. The implications of these trends are significant, revealing the ways in which social change is deeply interconnected with criminal behavior, punishment, and control.

FAQs:

1. What is late modern society, and how has it influenced criminal behavior?

Late modern society is characterized by social changes such as globalization, deindustrialization, and the rise of a consumer society, which have facilitated the emergence of new forms of criminal behavior characterized by social exclusion and economic marginalization. 2.

What is Jock Young’s theory of late modernity and exclusion? Jock Young’s theory highlights the connection between exclusion and extreme forms of crime, where the decline of traditional industries and the exclusion of certain groups from mainstream society creates a vacuum that is filled by crime.

3. What is Foucault’s theory of disciplinary power and surveillance?

Foucault’s concept of disciplinary power focuses on the shift from sovereign power to discipline in late modern societies, where individuals who deviate from accepted norms are identified, monitored, and controlled via disciplinary mechanisms such as constant surveillance. 4.

How has punishment and control evolved in late modern society? The shift from violent to psychological punishment reflects changing attitudes toward offenders, with a growing acceptance of psychological interventions that seek to understand and treat the underlying causes of criminal behavior, rather than punishing it.

Additionally, the widespread use of surveillance as a means of social control reflects a shift from traditional forms of discipline to more technologically-based methods. 5.

What are the implications of these trends? The trends of changing crime patterns and punishment and control have significant implications for society as a whole, revealing the ways in which social change is deeply interconnected with criminal behavior, punishment, and control.

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