Risk and Criminology

Critical Reflections on Risk and Human Security: Towards a Holistic Approach, pp. 43-59, G. Mythen, S. Walklate, eds., McGraw-Hill/Open University Press: London, 2006

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 09/87

30 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2009  

Pat O'Malley

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: September 14, 2009

Abstract

While risk has only recently become a significant topic in criminology, risk techniques have been penetrating criminal justice since the 1970's, and have roots going back as far as the 1930's. This paper examines the development of risk in this domain, and suggests that the directions taken by risk technologies, as well as their prominence and centrality in justice, is highly variable and unpredictable. Accordingly, while it is possible to see risk currently and increasingly being applied to areas as diverse as police work, sentencing and crime prevention, it should not be assumed that there is an inevitable march of risk to dominance. There are serious obstacles to risk’s spread, ranging from judicial resistance through popular punitiveness, as well as the persistence of welfare state professional knowledges and orientation that have already modified and diluted the place of risk in significant ways.

Keywords: risk, security, uncertainty, justice, criminology, governmentality

JEL Classification: K10, K14, K30

Suggested Citation

O'Malley, Pat, Risk and Criminology (September 14, 2009). Critical Reflections on Risk and Human Security: Towards a Holistic Approach, pp. 43-59, G. Mythen, S. Walklate, eds., McGraw-Hill/Open University Press: London, 2006; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 09/87. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1473572

Pat O'Malley (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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