10.1007/s11196-020-09719-4 ">

Pre-crime, post-criminology, and the captivity of ultramodern desire

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Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

Publication Title

International Journal for the Semiotics of Law


© 2020, Springer Nature B.V. This article further elaborates on the “pre-crime society” thesis as developed and examined by Arrigo and Sellers. Specifically, the article focuses on the ultramodern era of digital inter-connectivity and argues that productive psychic desire is held clinically captive. Ultra-modernity is populated by cyber-forms of human relating and of economic exchange that nurture hyper-securitization. We discuss how the maintenance of hyper-securitization supports a pre-crime society, and how hyper-securitization’s object of desire consists of sign-optics (i.e., panopticism, synopticism, and banopticism). We argue that the co-constitutive forces (i.e., relational flows and fluctuations) of this desire represent the sign-exchange values of post-criminology. Post-criminology’s signifiers include, among others, “predictive policing”, “crime mapping”, and “actuarial penology.” Post-criminology’s signifieds (re)produce captivity-generating bio-digital “laws” of human relatedness. Among others, these laws sanction the neurosis of de-vitalization and certify the psychosis of finalization. We explain how the unchecked excess neutralizations of de-vitalization and finalization cultivate clinical captivity. Clinical captivity is a social anxiety in which reciprocal consciousness, inter-subjectivity, and mutual power are limited in existence (the reduction of inter-relatedness) or are denied an existence (the repression of inter-relatedness).

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