David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Criminal sanctions work to reduce crime in a variety of ways. In a simple economic sense, legal sanctions raise the cost of criminal conduct. Expressive law scholars have shown that the criminal law can help to reduce crimes in other ways as well - by shaping preferences, changing social meanings, and encouraging non-legal sanctions. Lawmakers rely on these mechanisms when they attempt to use criminal laws to change behavior. But lawmakers and scholars alike should keep in mind that the expressive function of criminal law does not always work as intended. In order to illustrate that point, this article examines street culture's reaction to criminal drug policy. The first section describes street ideology and the social meaning of crack dealing and marijuana use. It relies not only on recent academic work in the fields of sociology and history, but also on a variety of primary sources, including music, movies, magazines, poetry, and memoirs. These sources demonstrate that in street culture, drug policy has utterly failed to produce its intended social norms. In fact, if anything, criminal drug policy has helped to create a system of norms and meanings that undermine the state's goal. The second section lays a foundation in theoretical sociology for the argument that expressive criminal law can fail. It draws on several concepts, including strain theory, differential association, and labeling theory, from canonical sociological texts. The third section examines implications for recent law and norms scholarship. Finally, and most provocatively, the article questions whether criminal law's production of oppositional cultures is truly a failure or simply part of its intended function.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Only published papers are available at libraries|
Similar books and articles
Nicole A. Vincent (2010). On the Relevance of Neuroscience to Criminal Responsibility. Criminal Law and Philosophy 4 (1):77-98.
Antony Duff (ed.) (1998). Philosophy and the Criminal Law: Principle and Critique. Cambridge University Press.
Antony Duff & Stuart P. Green (eds.) (2011). Philosophical Foundations of Criminal Law. Oxford University Press.
A. P. Simester & A. T. H. Smith (eds.) (1996). Harm and Culpability. Oxford University Press.
R. A. Duff (2010). Towards a Theory of Criminal Law? Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 84 (1):1-28.
George P. Fletcher (2007). The Grammar of Criminal Law: American, Comparative, and International. Oxford University Press.
Roger A. Shiner (2009). Theorizing Criminal Law Reform. Criminal Law and Philosophy 3 (2):167-186.
Douglas Husak (2008). Why Criminal Law: A Question of Content? [REVIEW] Criminal Law and Philosophy 2 (2):99-122.
Andrew Ashworth & Lucia Zedner (2008). Defending the Criminal Law: Reflections on the Changing Character of Crime, Procedure, and Sanctions. Criminal Law and Philosophy 2 (1):21-51.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads7 ( #147,128 of 1,004,688 )
Recent downloads (6 months)0
How can I increase my downloads?