A Re-interpretation of Social Theory from the Perspective of Hermeneutics

Susan R. Takata, University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Jeanne Curran, California State Univ. - Dominguez Hills

Interdependence between theoretical understanding and praxis is addressed as an issue over which the citizen should have agency in public discourse. Criminologists have a particularly important role in reinterpreting plausible theoretical approaches in language accesible to the local community, and in conceptually relating the theory to permutations of political solutions open to address the issues. This is crucial to the field of criminology, for the very nature of the concept of crime is dependent upon the interpretations and reinterpretations to which we subject both our theoretical approach and the underlying assumptions on which it is founded. Our conclusion that the ordinary citizen must be prepared to accept responsibility and to engage in effective public discourse on the basic issues of how crime shall be defined and how we will deal with control locally, nationally, and in a global context, is based on an experimental community forum drawn from our college students in a Los Angeles community. They were persuaded to explore with us just how such public discourse might effectively take place through actually engaging in the forum.

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Updated 05/20/2006