The French Connection in Criminology: Rediscovering Crime, Law and Social Change.
Arrigo, Dragan Milovanovic, & Robert Schehr.
Albany, NY: State University of NY Press.
Sam Houston State University
Postmodernism is a relatively new area of criminological theory that is based upon a larger
expanse of theoretical thought. During the past two decades or so, postmodern concepts have been
used to develop new methods and strategies for understanding the world around us and ourselves.
These concepts have been applied to a wide range of fields including anthropology, philosophy,
history, politics, and criminology.
As it applies to criminology, postmodernism does not concentrate
solely on criminal justice, rather the focus is on its role within society and its interaction with other
institutions, such as family, school, government, business, etc.
More specifically, postmodernist
scholars argue that "the growth of, and changes in, the criminal justice apparatus are best understood
by contextualizing them within macro shifts in society" (Kraska, 2004, 278).
perspective on criminal justice thought provides insight into the criminal justice system within the
social and cultural context as a result of vast societal changes that include such features as economic
globalization, greater cultural diversity, dominance of "free-market model," rapid technological
advancements, changing conceptions of gender, and complex shifts in political ideology, etc. (Kraska,
Arrigo, Milovanovic, and Schehr profess to offer insight as to the impact of French
postmodernist theorists in order to broaden our understanding of postmodernism and to diversify its
theoretical application within criminal justice.
In the introduction, the authors detail the purpose of
creating this book and outline the structure of the book itself.
The authors argue that despite the
"universal application and utilization" of postmodernism, "little attention has been given to the
consolidation and coordination of this scholarship in any systematic fashion" (p. ix).
The French Connection
is to provide a cohesive and thorough examination of the French
roots of postmodernism.
In the beginning of its history, postmodernism suffered from a skeptical, nihilistic undertone.