Friday, August 27, 2010
Here's one where to follow the conversation you really should read the book. Not because we're overly condensing its arguments but that I'm trying to lead the author away from the book and you won't know what you're missing otherwise. Dr. Jonathan Simon (also a JD) teaches at Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law. His book is titled Governing Through Crime: How the War on Crime Transformed American Democracy and Created a Culture of Fear (2007, Oxford University Press). The book, by the way, won the 2008 ASA Sociology of Law Distinguished Book Award, which is given out every two years.
If we'd walked through the book it would've taken forever and I wanted to cover a few other questions. But I think the gist of Jonathan's arguments is, nevertheless, clear.
For a couple years now I've wanted to try to get at the American criminal justice system, but was always thinking in simple terms of things like rates of incarceration and the death penalty. Jonathan's larger vision puts those and other issues into a more intelligible perspective.
Btw, you will hear towards the very end some faint, odd sounding background noise. That's the Edinburgh Art Festival, out on the streets.
I hope you like this one. I found Jonathan unusually insightful.