Punitive public attitudes cannot be easily explained by pointing to instrumental concerns (e.g., fear of crime, personal victimization, or rea or perceived levels of crime). Instead, numerous observers have suggested that public punitiveness is more a symptom of free-floating anxieties and insecurities resulting from social change than a rational response to crime problems. We argue that these public concerns might be better understood by drawing on the insights of psychoanalytic theory, and we review relevant theoretical work to that effect.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science