In this contribution, Hirschi's widely influential social bond theory is criticized on logical and theoretical grounds. Central to this critique is the fact that the social bond theory defines crime and the criminal as not being part of (‘conventional’) ‘society’. In that respect, the social bond theory is seen as merely one exponent of what may be called ‘modernist’ criminology. Characteristic of modernist social theory is an abstraction from the social, which presupposes certain legitimized social constructions of ‘society’ to be naturally what society consists of. Thus, in scientific, political and popular discourse, ‘reintegration’ of the criminal can be propagated. This article questions such modernist, static, yet taken-for-granted conceptions of ‘society’, ‘crime’ and ‘integration’, calling instead for a study of the structural relations that separate the normal (‘society’) from the criminal.

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Theoretical Criminology
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Schinkel, W. (2002). The modernist myth in criminology. Theoretical Criminology, 6(2), 123–144. doi:10.1177/136248060200600201