In crime-obsessed cultures, the rudimentary trajectories of criminalizing processes are often overlooked. Specifically, processes of accusation that arrest everyday life, and enable possible enunciations of a criminal identity, seldom attract sustained attention. In efforts at redress, this paper considers discursive reference points through which contextually credible accusations of ‘crime’ are mounted. Focusing particularly on the ethical dimensions of what might be considered a ‘lore’ (rather than law) of criminal accusation, it examines several ways that exemplary cases reflect paradigms of accusatorial (...) practice, accuser identity formation and accused response. With such assumptive grids in mind, the paper signals the potential value of rescuing accusation from fundamental attachments to (a criminally defined) order and disorder, as well as images of a distinct accuser and accused offender. It then alludes to the prospect of pursuing justice through less exclusive forms of accusation. (shrink)
In this response to Ronnie Lippens’ and Erik Claes’ critiques of a paper entitled ‘The Lore of Criminal accusation,’ Pavlich notes the ways in which his work might be compared to, yet differentiated from, abolitionist approaches to crime. Working through Lippens’ comments, he notes a possible way to understand the analysis and politics of crime (through accusation). Pavlich challenges Claes’ optimistic hypostatization of ‘criminal law’, idiosyncratic understandings of deconstruction and refocuses attention on the centrality of accusation to creating criminal subjects.
A crucial element of sovereignty politics concerns the role that juridical techniques play in recursively creating images of the sovereign. This paper aims to render that dimension explicit by focusing on examples of crime-focused law and colonial rule at the Cape of Good Hope circa 1795. It attempts to show how this law helped to define a colonial sovereign via such idioms as proclamations, inquisitorial criminal procedures, and case narratives framing the atrocity and appropriate punishment for crimes. Referring to primary (...) texts of the time, the paper explores how procedures and narratives of Cape law were also deeply involved in fashioning specific images of the sovereign in whose name it claimed to operate. (shrink)