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Self, Others and the State
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Book description

Criminal responsibility is now central to criminal law, but it is in need of re-examination. In the context of Australian criminal laws, Self, Others and the State reassesses the general assumptions made about the rise to prominence of criminal responsibility in the period since around the turn of the twentieth century. It reconsiders the role of criminal responsibility in criminal law, arguing that criminal responsibility is significant because it organises key sets of relations - between self, others and the state - as relations of responsibility. Detailed studies of decisive moments and developments since the turn of the twentieth century, and original explorations of relations of responsibility, expose the complexity and dynamism of criminal responsibility and reveal that it is the means by which matters of subjectivity, relationality and power make themselves felt in the criminal law.


‘This is a new and exciting addition to the burgeoning critical literature on criminal responsibility. Loughnan’s focus is on the ways that criminal responsibility is linked to, and organises, wider networks of social responsibilities. This novel approach allows us to see how the narrow question of criminal liability is underpinned and shaped by broader social and institutional framings of responsibilities, giving novel and important insights into what Loughnan calls the ‘social life’ of the criminal law. These new theoretical insights are developed through an account of the development of criminal responsibility in twentieth-century Australia. This is an important new book and should be essential reading for anyone interested in the history and theory of the criminal law.’

Lindsay Farmer - University of Glasgow

‘Responsibility has in recent years become a central preoccupation for criminal lawyers, theorists and historians. Arlie Loughnan’s new book nonetheless brings truly fresh things to the … existing debate. In its striking analysis of the differing relations between self, other and the state which underlie responsibility practices, Loughnan shows that … important and contextually significant differences subsist, with certain subjects - women, groups, the state itself - constituted in terms of non-standard forms of responsibility. The book is an important contribution not only to socio-historical and criminal law theory but also to the feminist and post-colonial analysis and critique of law.’

Nicola Lacey - London School of Economics and Political Science

‘Arlie Loughnan’s new monograph, Self, Others and the State offers a well-researched, wide ranging, scholarly critique of the dominant criminal legal story about criminal responsibility … This is a very well-written monograph that is enjoyable to read. The argument that criminal responsibility organises relations between self, others and the state is valuable and insightful.’

Penny Crofts Source: Journal of Legal Philosophy

‘Arlie Loughnan’s Self, Others and the State is an important and fundamental analysis of criminal law: how its thinking has been shaped, its principles established, its organization created and justified and the role of criminal responsibility in each of these dimensions of the discipline. It offers a direct and effective challenge to the prevailing scholarship.’

Ngaire Naffine Source: Journal of Legal Philosophy

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