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Emotions in cultural criminology

By Nicolas Trajtenberg

Abstract

Cultural Criminology (CC) is one of the most recent and exciting developments in criminological theory. Its main argument is that mainstream criminological theories provide inadequate explanations of crime due to epistemological and theoretical flaws. CC’s alternative involves assuming a phenomenological and interpretative approach that focuses on the cultural and emotional components of crime. In this article I shall argue that although CC makes a valid demand for more realistic and complex explanations of crime, its own alternative needs to deal with two main challenges referred to its conceptualization of explanation and emotion. First, two problematic antagonisms should be avoided: understanding vs. causal explanation; and universal nomothetic explanations as opposed to ideographic descriptions. Considering recent developments in philosophy of social science, particularly the ‘social mechanisms approach’, CC should focus on explaining retrospectively through identification of specific causal mechanisms rejecting universal and predictive pretensions. Second, although cultural criminologists rightly question the emotionless character of criminological explanations, they lack an articulated alternative conceptualization of emotions to explain crime. A more refined concept needs to be elaborated in dialogue with recent advances in social sciences

Year: 2018
OAI identifier: oai:http://orca.cf.ac.uk:129971
Provided by: ORCA
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