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Original isbn - 0406932468
Crime, Reason and History provides an alternative approach to the study of the general principles of criminal law. It emphasises, in contrast to orthodox texts, the tensions and contradictions at the law's heart. The author outlines the themes of responsibility, rationality and justice which govern the orthodox criminal law text. He traces these to the early nineteenth century reform of the criminal law and notes conflicts within reform ideologies relating to the idea of the 'responsible individual'.
He then takes the reader through the bulk of the criminal law's 'general part' showing how conflicts from reform ideology emerge within criminal law. An historical and political logic underlies its illogicalities, giving it its 'shape'. The author presents a sceptical critique of the liberal positivist tradition in criminal law scholarship, and a social analysis of both its practical necessity and intellectual impossibility.
He shows how the ideology of individual legal justice was imposed as a means of excluding alternative political voices, while recognising its importance for the survival of the liberal polity.