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July 27 , 2010

Disease and Crime

A History of Social Pathologies and the New Politics of Health


Disease and crime are increasingly conflated in the contemporary world. News reports proclaim "epidemics" of crime, while politicians denounce terrorism as a lethal pathological threat. Recent years have even witnessed the development of a new subfield, "epidemiological criminology," which merges public health with criminal justice to provide analytical tools for criminal justice practitioners and health care professionals. Little attention, however, has been paid to the historical contexts of these disease and crime equations, or to the historical continuities and discontinuities between contemporary invocations of crime as disease and the emergence of criminology, epidemiology, and public health in the second half of the nineteenth century. When, how and why did this pathologization of crime and criminalization of disease come about? This volume addresses these critical questions, exploring the discursive construction of crime and disease across a range of geographical and historical settings.

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