Social Democratic Criminology by Robert Reiner

Social Democratic Criminology by Robert Reiner

Book review

Reiner plumps for the ‘set of values’ approach to social democracy, arguing that it is at root ‘the belief in an ethical ideal synthesizing the values of equality, liberty, and fraternity/community’. There follows an outline of an ‘ideal type’ constructed around nine ‘thematic dimensions’. These are: the primacy of the ethical - grounded in the ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ injunction; a critique of capitalism as generating inequality, poverty and misery; gradualism in the sense of advocating for specific reforms; equality and democracy as ‘preconditions for each other’ (p. 35); a ‘quiet optimism’; dimensions of justice, in particular the shift from class based analysis to that of gender, sexuality and ethnicity; the state as an instrument of justice; and a commitment to science.

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