29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Sex Panic and the Punitive State (Paperback)In this carefully researched and eloquently written analysis, Roger Lancaster explains how 35 years of virtually nonstop panics over crime - urban unrest in the 1960s, street crime in the 1970s, crack wars in the 1980s, predatory gangs in the 1990s, and terrorists in the 2000s - have congealed into a durable regime dominated by irrational fear. Underlying wave after wave of panics, Lancaster argues, is a synergy between deeply ingrained (but covert) fears of black criminals (especially rapists) and homosexual child molesters.
Lancaster sees the newly minted social category of "the victim" as a central force in a new social order. In the name of the iconic crime victim, the Victim's Rights Movement has led the charge to dismantle traditional legal protections. Perversely, increased repression of the American citizenry has arisen in tandem with the loosening of economic restraints on privatization, globalization and corporations' relentless squeezing of what we now call the 99 percent.
Although there are other excellent books on both sex panic and on mass incarceration in the United States, Lancaster delves most broadly into the deeper historical, economic, religious and social trends that have contributed to what he describes as "a broken social order based on mistrust, resentment, and ill will."
This is an enlightening book on an essential topic. I highly recommend it.