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Communities, identities and crime$
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Basia Spalek

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781861348043

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861348043.001.0001

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Social identities in late modernity: offender and victim identity constructions

Social identities in late modernity: offender and victim identity constructions

Chapter:
(p.10) (p.11) one Social identities in late modernity: offender and victim identity constructions
Source:
Communities, identities and crime
Author(s):

Basia Spalek

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781861348043.003.0002

This chapter examines the relevance of identity formations for criminology and their significance in a criminal justice context. Conceptualising today's society as late modernity, it argues that when writing about the nature of social identities in contemporary western society, it is important to consider the interplay, tensions and contradictions between modernity's ‘imperative of order’, including the expression of collective identities and interests, and the fragmentation, individualisation and fluidity of identities associated with conditions of late modernity. It also suggests that within a criminal justice context, the identities of both offenders and victims are relevant, as are identities in relation to gender, ‘race’/ethnicity, religion/spirituality, sexual orientation, disability and ageing. Turning specifically to a criminal justice and community safety context, the chapter shows how the subject of identities is relevant in many ways. Finally, it provides a few examples of the ways in which identity is socially constructed and enacted within prisons.

Keywords:   criminal justice, social identities, criminology, identity formations, late modernity, offenders, victims, gender, community safety, prisons

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