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Scenes of the Criminal Body

The body of the modern criminal was founded on the explanatory models of 19th century positivism. The scientific eye, speech and classification defined criminals as a deviant group of people. Criminality could be localised and then eliminated. The criminal, too, could be identified and isolated to serve as an object of continuous supervision and control. At the same time, the criminal also helped to define the law-abiding citizen by guaranteeing their normality. The criminal was useful for society, because their deviant otherness justified the development and use of severe and even cruel disciplinary mechanisms. Anti-criminality was part of social hygiene rather than a juridic manifestation of moral disapproval. And again are the medical science and genetics labeling signs of risk and danger in order to justify new forms of control. The body is still the object in the struggles waged over the definition of deviance.

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