Daily Archives: September 23, 2013

Midterm Review Part One (415)

It might help to reflect on the subtitle of the course: crime and system. I hope that phrase leads you immediately to another phrase that we’ve encountered, systemic violence. Note that contrary to some of the pop quizzes I graded, the words “systemic crime” have never been used in class (though we have talked about “structural violence” and “systemic violence”). On the other hand, one criticism of the contemporary social formation might be that crime– in an ethical or moral sense rather than a legal one– has been systemized or normalized. For instance, it can and has been argued that finance capitalism’s reliance on purposefully opaque “instruments” such as CDOs (collateralized debt obligations) amounts to a kind of shell game intended to confuse or even defraud investors. Or consider NYC’s “stop and frisk” policy, which in treating young men of color as automatic suspects, is essentially a form of racial profiling that violates basic rights of freedom of movement. Though these examples have some merit they are not, strictly speaking, crimes in the sense of violating the law (though this could change given new judicial rulings).

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