Bernard Harcourt, Illusion of Order
"The fundamental problem with order maintenance is not that it rests on discussion of the norm and social meaning of orderliness, but rather that it fails to be critical about these categories — orderly, disorder, and the disorderly — and to consider the ways in which they they are sahped by the policing practices that surround us... The alternative approach that I propose focuses not only on social meaning and short-term behavior and perception, but also, and more important, on the relationship between policing practices and the perceptions, thoughts, feelings, understandings, and relations of the contemporary subject." — from the Introduction
In Illusion of Order, Julius Kreeger Professor of Law and Criminology Bernard Harcourt challenges the "broken windows" theory of crime, which argues that permittiing minor misdemeanors to go unpunished encourages more serious crime. The problem, Harcourt, argues, is that the broken windows theory has never been empirically verified. Even in theory, it rests upon unexamined categories of "order" and "disorder" which do not exist independent of our society's techniques of punishment. Harcourt examines the rise of this order-maintenance approach to criminal justice and lays the groundwork for "a new vision of punishment and criminal justice analysis."