Justice in the risk society

C. Shearing, Les Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The punishment paradigm is attractive because of the parsimonious way in which it integrates the instrumental and the symbolic features of ordering. This paper examines the relationship between these features in a context where risk and risk reduction are prioritised.The central question motivating the paper is a normative one: What opportunities, if any, does the explosion of risk-focused technologies present for minimising our reliance on punishment as a technology for governing security? Our contention is that the mentality of risk has promoted the exploration of alternative technologies that call into question the tight coupling of punishment with the governance of security. A key issue addressed in the paper is whether it is possible for subjects to experience a sense of justice that is not punishment-centred. Such a situation exists, we argue, in the case of an initiative in the governance of security that one of us has been facilitating in South Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-38
Number of pages14
JournalThe Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005


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