Pre-crime and post-criminology?

Lucia Zedner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

449 Citations (Scopus)


Conventionally, crime is regarded principally as harm or wrong and the dominant ordering practices arise post hoc. In the emerging pre-crime society, crime is conceived essentially as risk or potential loss, ordering practices are pre-emptive and security is a commodity sold for profit. Though this dichotomy oversimplifies a more complex set of changes, it captures an important temporal shift. As the intellectual offspring of the post-crime society, criminology must adapt to meet the challenges of pre-crime and security. This article examines the key features a theory of security needs to encompass. It explores the immanent capacities of criminology for change and suggests exterior intellectual resources upon which it might draw. It concludes that the pre-crime society need not be a post-criminological one.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-281
Number of pages21
JournalTheoretical Criminology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes


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