Do Peace Activists See War as Criminal? Implications for Critical Criminology

David Kauzlarich, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville

For some time, critical criminologists have argued that the legal definition of crime is no more and perhaps even less legitimate than social harms definitions of crime. Borrowing from both traditions, state crime scholars have had little problem conceptualizing war, imperialism, and other harmful governmental actions in criminological terms. But do other progressives outside of critical criminology? This study explores a part of this question via interviews with a convenience sample of peace activists agains the U.S.-Iraq war. In practical terms, the study seeks to clarify the extent to which activists feel comfortable framing such events as criminal and therefore provide some measure of (a) the indirect level of progressive support of academic in critical criminology as it pertains to praxis, (b) attitudes toward practical solutions to the control of state crime found in the scholarly literature, and (c) the potential limits and usefulness of the label "crime" as a tool for promoting social justice and peace.

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Updated 05/20/2006