New Perspectives about Social Control, Crime and Violence: For Another Possible World
The period of late modernity, from 1991 through the present, is the time of “liquid fear”. Changes are taking place in social institutions, such as the family, the school, the factory, religion, and the criminal justice system, and transforming processes of socialization, as we go through a process of crisis and failure of once reliable institutions.
Late modern societies also produce transformations in crime and in forms of violence. The phenomenon of diffuse violence takes on a new form and spreads throughout society. The multiple forms of diffuse violence in contemporary societies, such as violent crime, social exclusion, gender violence, acts of racism, and school violence, is expressed in a microphysics of violence. Crime itself has changed in late modernity: we are in a civilizational malaise which has led contemporary society to an obsessive preoccupation with individualism and personal safety.
Theories about crime and violence in modernity have a long history. Since the 18th century we note four important periods. The first period, the Formation of Modern Society, Crime and Violence, stretched from the XVIII to the late XIX century. The second period termed the Age of Extremes: From Crime to State Violence, the third period: the Epistemological Crisis of the Twentieth Century, the fourth period: the Late Modernity Theories of Crime and the Microphysics of Violence.