It is one of my increasing, and sure to become abiding, concerns that in a discipline such as criminology, precisely criminology, where individuals’ liberties and freedoms – their inhibition and reduction – are the focus and purpose of much of the literature, that exactly in such areas the personal, the “I” and “you” and “we”, the voices that persist and resist, the poverties that spread so widely and embrace cruelly not kindly, currently do not dominate all our discourses.
It is my contention more and more that the senses need to be brought sharply and madly into our academic debate. If criminology and criminal justice systems aim primarily – always have done; maybe now (I wish it were otherwise) always will – to construct and instruct and control and limit human beings, who are judged to have failed societies’ minimums of behaviour, by the very same use of fear and aggression against the mind, of games that never end, of memories that never release, surely it is time we demonstrated through counter-fear, through counter-aggression – always politely couched, always constructively posed, even as inevitably painful for those who will find themselves on the receiving end – that defining the fundamental laws and regulatory processes of our societies on the basis of hurting particular human beings into becoming human beings who do not hurt is utterly, utterly, utterly ridiculous.
Last night, a man lay down and almost slept himself into oblivion because of this dynamic. No human being should ever be lead to such a place. No human being should ever be encouraged to lose hope.
This is why the individual (the generic individual, I mean here; not the specific), alongside their personally felt and sensed pain, needs to be brought back into criminology and criminal justice.
And then, by extension, into our societies themselves.