Impulsivity and the "Culture of the Now" Versus Rational Choice Theory and the Criminology of Normality

Keith Hayward, University of Kent

Impulsivity is fast becoming an installed feature of late modern society. From digitized 'sales loops' to the expansion of credit facilities, we are, at a societal level, increasingly encouraged to eschew long-term conservatism and pursue instead a course toward individual gratification, plotted by materialistic desires and located as sources of pleasure and identity. Such a breakdown in temporality coupled with the concomitant search for instantaneous (and emotive) experiences has real consequences, not least in terms of attitudes towards social norms and crime. This paper considers the implications of this situation for criminology. In particular, it suggests that such a culture of impulsivity--Jameson's (1991) 'world of the now'--is likely to further challenge the effectiveness and viability of administrative criminology and the static typologies associated with rational choice theory.

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Updated 05/20/2006