WHY I STUDY CRIME AND CRIMINALITY NO MORE
Hal Pepinsky, firstname.lastname@example.org, “peacemaking” at pepinsky.blogspot.com
September 19, 2014
To prepare a skype visit to a class, it occurred to me to look at the opening chapter in a 2001 book, A Criminologist’s Quest for Peace, that Ken Mentor was kind enough to publish for free download, where it remains, at www.critcrim.org. In it, I trace research that led me to conclude that crime and criminality trends told us about the behavior of the crime/criminality recorders, and to adopt instead what I came to call my peacemaking paradigm—whether in their relations, on balance, people were driven apart by fear, or drawn together in a process I called “responsiveness,” later “peacemaking.” I’ve mentioned and argued for paradigm shift in criminology many times, but I think this is the most detailed, well referenced account of how I learned to make the change.
In this blog post, I will attach pdf files of the chapter and the book references when I circulate it. I will see whether my blog itself will handle an upload of both documents here in this text. Otherwise, those who receive this blog post without the attachments can simply go to critcrim.org.
The chapter makes my case for paradigm change as fully as any I can recall. Anyone care to join me?:-) love and peace, hal
A CRIMINOLOGIST'S QUEST FOR PEACE
Chapter 1: LIVING CRIMINOLOGICALLY WITH NAKED EMPERORS* CRIMINOLOGY AS PEACEMAKING
It has been just over a decade since I turned explicitly to studying how to make peace instead of making war on crime and violence. Criminology and criminal justice are
essentially negative enterprises, about what not to do, about why we do what we should not, about how to stop us from doing wrong. In studying peacemaking I sought to understand how we get the kind of human relations we do want. Essentially, I seek to understand how we become safer in the face of violence. I want to find out what safety is and how we get more of it with one another. There are many other words we use for the opposite of being enmeshed in violence--security, community, compassion...I like "safety" because it is such a plain, blunt word.
I began my explicit inquiry into peacemaking by stating a theory that peace supplanted violence whenever interaction became "responsive" (Pepinsky 1988; expanded in Pepinsky 1991). While violence and the fear and pain it engenders came from people pursuing their own independent agendas and objectives regardless of how others were affected, responsiveness was interaction in which actors' personal agendas shifted constantly to accommodate others' feelings and needs. Responsiveness was how people acted in participatory democracy, which Paul Jesilow and I had earlier proposed as the way to "make people behave" instead of punishing criminality (Pepinsky and Jesilow 1992 : 127-38).
Thus enterprise would become safer and more honest if tax incentives and other subsidies supported worker/client-democratically-owned-and-operated businesses; prisons would become safer if democratically governed as Tom Murton (1968)--who became "Brubaker" in a movie--did in the mid-sixties in Arkansas; and responses to crime and violence like Victim Offender Reconciliation Programs (VORPS) built safety by encouraging victims and offenders to have community support in creating their own ways into secure community life--as Christie (1977) had put it, to own their own disputes. In all our proposals, democratization was the path to peace.
In Montreal in 1987 at the Third International Conference on Penal Abolition (ICOPA III), I was also made aware of three parallel streams of thought in action: radical feminism as Kay Harris had propounded it at ICOPA II in 1985 (revised statement in Harris 1991), "abolitionism" as propounded by Knopp et al. in 1976 as represented in her
Safer Society Program for victims of sexual violence and for offenders (Knopp 1991), and "restorative justice" beginning under Mennonite auspices with establishment of VORPs first in Kitchener, Ontario, in 1974, and in Elkhart, Indiana, in 1977 (Zehr 1990). At about this time, aboriginal alternatives to prosecution and punishment were beginning to gain recognition; in 1989, New Zealand adopted Maori ways, offering "family group councils" to all young people petitioned into juvenile court for delinquency--circles including family and friends of victims and offenders, sitting in a circle with officials and lawyers, convened by a social worker (Consedine 1999). All these strands focused on the harm done by crime and violence in tearing both victims and offenders from reciprocally trustworthy relations with others, on trying to repair the damage caused by violence rather than focusing on identifying, isolating, separating, and punishing the offender. This body of work has been summarized in a special issue on "The Phenomenon of Restorative Justice," inaugurating the journal Contemporary Justice Review (Sullivan 1998).
Richard Quinney, I, and our contributors began drawing these strands of thought and action together into a field we labeled Criminology as Peacemaking (Pepinsky and Quinney 1991). I have since tried to gain understanding of basic mundane elements by which people make peace in place of violence.
I propose from a peacemaking point of view that we become safe with others essentially when our relations become empathic, while from a warmaking point of view safety lies in making individuals perfectly obedient to the commands of proper authorities. I am not a prophet, and so I don't propose whether at any moment we will do what makes us safer rather than threatening us with greater violence. I discuss instead what we can do. I begin with an invitation to shift the criterion we use to measure progress, from whether crime and criminality are reduced, to whether our daily lives become more democratic.
OUR EMPERORS HAVE NO CLOTHES
Rudolph Giuliani was elected Mayor of New York in 1993, largely on his reputation as a crime-fighting U.S. Attorney. Under his administration, the police department has instituted a computer crime-tracking system, CompStat. Weekly meetings are held in each police precinct to review the latest crime figures. It is made clear to precinct commanders that they are responsible for doing what it takes to reduce crime in their territories, or else they will be replaced. This program has become a model for other big cities nationwide. Mayor Giuliani joins his police in claiming that since 1993 under his administration, crime including murder has dramatically declined (see, e.g., www.ci.nyc.ny.us/html/om/html/97/sp393-97.html). I don't believe it. Chambliss (1999:
43) has argued that these reductions, including murder, are artifacts of a policy of making police record less of the crime reported to them. He cites Chilton's finding that when murder figures first went down, reported suicides (excludable from "criminal homicide" under F.B.I. guidelines) rose 41 percent (Chambliss and Chilton, 1998).
I join Chambliss and Chilton in believing that these crime reductions and comparable
reductions across the country are artifacts of changes in the organization of policing and police crime reporting. In the last of a series of field studies of police crime recording I did in the United States and finally in England, I concluded that police-recorded crime trends could consistently be explained as trends in police behavior rather than as trends in the criminality of the public. Having earlier reviewed the full range of measures of crime and criminality (Pepinsky, 1980), I supposed that trends in measures of crime other than crimes known to the police and police arrests, notably in victimization and self-report surveys, would be more an index of changes in surveyor behavior than in behavior of the surveyed. I suspected then for instance, as I do now, that continuing decreases in victimization rates result in surveys becoming routine, and therefore in interviewers and their supervisors becoming steadily, marginally, less diligent about prodding reports out of survey respondents. I therefore called for a general moratorium on crime counting (Pepinsky, 1987).
It is often charged that criminologists are passive servants of state power. One respect in which the charge holds true is that from the onset of the so-called scientific study of crime in the nineteenth century, criminologists have relied heavily on a net of official determinations of where the crime is and who the criminals are, that has widened from data on prisoners to victim surveys and government-funded self-report surveys (Pepinsky, 1976). The foundation for many contemporary explanations of criminality was laid in early studies of how prisoners and then convicts differed from people who were not in prison. As I wrote my 1980 book surveying measures of crime and criminality, I was led to suppose that truisms arising from this early work-such as that criminals came mostly from poor dysfunctional families-have become so deeply embedded in our culture that even children responding to self-report questionnaires will respond stereotypically: A child who gets in trouble in school will report defiance of parents and will report offenses more than the straight-A student, who will tend to report an ideal homelife and to deny breaking the law. Poverty may cause crime and violence, but so do wealth, power and privilege, which increase our capacity and stake in hiding our own offending and our victimization, especially our victimization by our nearest and dearest.
So it is that we continue to believe that those who aim state crime-fighting apparatus at poverty-ridden ghettoes are aiming at the heart of the crime problem. So it is that we bow to the claims of emperors like Mayor Giuliani that they are cloaked in the garb that saves us from crime. So I continue to believe that this garb is an illusion. These emperors have no clothes. The problem is not that our emperors are doing a bad job of counting crime. It is that counting crime and personal violence is an impossible job, and that we make a mistake in believing that it can and should be done at all.
In this chapter I recount why the task of crime counting is impossible, and outline the criterion for the study and control of crime and personal violence that I have adopted instead.
WHY CRIME AND CRIMINALITY CANNOT BE COUNTED
Counting criminality rests on counting crime. An offender is someone who has somehow been counted to have committed a crime. A recidivist is counted to have committed a further crime. A career offender is counted to have committed several offenses. If we cannot count crime, we cannot count criminality.
Even if we correct for class bias and political instrumentalism in how we count crime, two obstacles still stand in the way.
One obstacle is that in all probability the most damaging and traumatizing crime and personal violence, and the crime and violence which defy stereotypes of who criminals are and where crime is committed, is the most deeply hidden. To conclude that we know that there is less crime in one setting than another, or that one of us is less criminal than another, may just mean that we know less about the one than the other.
The other obstacle is that it is not the materiality of an act which makes crime or personal violence repugnant, but the intent which we perceive to lie behind the act. It is not as we generally suppose behavior itself which makes us fear and reject what we call crime and personal violence, but the motives we perceive to underlie the behavior.
I have called the first obstacle "the violence of silence" (Pepinsky, 1988). It has long been apparent to many criminologists that the loss of life and property caused by elite crime far exceeds the losses from what we call street crime (Reiman, 1997). When I first wrote about the violence of silence, I primarily had white-collar and state crime in mind (Pepinsky and Jesilow, 1992 ), although when I coined "the violence of silence" I mentioned that Norwegians had cautioned me that if I perceived life in their country to be relatively free of violence, I just did not know Norwegians well enough. Then, in 1992, I began to be introduced to a multitude of cases in which children, adult survivors, and their advocates including therapists, were reporting violence against children in all kinds of places normally presumed safe, such as the homes of highly regarded prominent members of communities, or schools, or churches (as described for instance in Pepinsky, 2000). I reviewed mounds of documentation in numerous cases, including photos and medical reports, and testified in several child custody disputes. Generally speaking, the violence I joined others in believing to have happened included sexual assault. On occasion, it involved ritual torture which even extended to apparent homicide and cannibalism. I joined others like Whitfield (1995) and Sinason (1994) in finding the vast majority of the reports I heard and read to be credible and often amply corroborated. I joined others like Herman (1992) and Freyd (1996) in believing that the trauma in these cases, involving as it did betrayal of trust by those upon whom children heavily depended, runs far deeper than the trauma left by what we regard as typical street violence.
These perceptions are hotly debated. Many would refer to the wave of reports of "child
abuse," "incest," and "ritual abuse" that has arisen since C. Henry Kempe et al. (1962) found many more than one child in a million to be battered to be mass hysteria, a moral panic, a witchhunt. I have bristled at such charges, and indeed been profoundly upset in particular cases when judges and others have rejected what I considered overwhelming evidence for instance that a father was sodomizing a child, or have said that memories and reports of victimization which arose independently must have been implanted by therapists or mothers. My frustration has been compounded by recognition that the more gruesome and serious the violence would be if reports were believed, the greater people's resistance to hearing, let alone accepting, what I regard as hard evidence. As time passes, my appreciation grows for the wisdom of a therapist's advice: "Don't try to make people believe the violence is happening, Hal." I have learned greater humility about my own beliefs as to who, where and how much personal, criminal violence is occurring, let along about my capacity to "prove" to others that what I believe is true.
I also give myself credit for examining closely not only what others report, but what I know and believe even about my own childhood. As many of my students do in classes on violence against children, even after years of psychotherapeutic self-examination (learning like Fellman, 1998), I feel profound gratitude for the gifts my own parents and teachers gave me in childhood, and gratitude that they committed no crimes against me. But I have also personally, let alone through reports of others, come to believe that we all have layers of victimization that we deny to ourselves and others unless and until we come to know a confidant a long time. I contrast the awareness of traumatic human encounter I and especially those I believe to be survivors of gross and close personal, criminal violence have developed and shared, to the shallowness of encounters upon which criminologically accepted reports of crime and criminality normally rest. If someone older a child knows and depends upon for instance sexually fondles the child and causes deepseated distress, how on earth could we expect the victim or the offender to report it in a chance encounter with a stranger in a victim or self-report survey? The closer to home and more deeply traumatizing the crimes we suffer, the less likely the crimes are to show up in our data sets-the more likely our data sets are to confirm erroneous stereotypes as to where crime and criminality lie.
Perhaps sometime in centuries to come we can plausibly conclude that we have uncovered the depth and breadth of crime and violence in one another's personal lives. As of now, our counts of crime and criminality barely skim our social surface, and are in all probability heavily biased by stereotypes of race, class, gender, age, place, and official prior record.
Shifts in Motivation Count
The other obstacle to counting crime and criminality is that behavioral definitions are distorted proxies for the harm and threat which lead us to call action harmful, criminal or violent. Defining this harm was a long, hard struggle for me. In my part of the world where English common law prevails, we are taught that crimes have two elements-an actus reus or harmful act, done by someone with mens rea or a wrongful mind. Mens rea
is a fuzzy concept. It is basically a state of mind which makes an actor condemnable for doing what the law deems wrong or harmful. In law school we study what mens rea is from cases in which actors are deemed not to have it-killing while sleepwalking, or as a child less than 7 years of age for instance. Mens rea is not clearly enough defined to pinpoint what makes an act condemnable, but it does signify lawmakers' recognition that legal harm does not lie in behavior alone.
I used to get fits of frustration trying to define crime or violence in purely behavioral terms. Take shooting and killing someone as an illustration. The shooting may be deemed murderous, overreactive, accidental, excusable, justifiable, merciful, loving and kind, or heroic. It is easy enough to compare attributions across cases and conclude that these attributions are politically arbitrary (see Quinney, 1970). Arbitrary as they may be, I could not help thinking that there was some underlying human perception of threat and harm from which attributions of wrongfulness and threat spring.
I ultimately derived my postulate as to what this threat is from a combination of translation of English concepts (responsibility, accountability, and liability) into Norwegian (ansvar) and back into English (responsiveness), and from Buckminster Fuller's (1975/1979) operationalization of "synergy" (Pepinsky, 1991). These derivations proved hard or impossible for readers to follow. Here I try another derivation which I hope is plainer and simpler.
On their face, burglary and rape are two very different crimes, and yet victims and their advocates report a reaction which in some respects is strikingly similar: Victims are left feeling invaded, and unsafe. They fear a recurrence of the offense. They fear that in encounters with offenders, the offenders could kill them. The victims are in other words mortally afraid. Sometimes, they gain a measure of reassurance, as by meeting their offenders, that the offenders would not have gone so far as to kill them. Mortal or not, the threat basically is that whatever offenders want was not and will not be affected by how it makes victims feel. The basic threat is that the victims are mere instruments of offenders' will.
Correspondingly, displays of empathy are our greatest assurance that others are safe to be with (McKendy, 1999). For instance these days I hear many of those who try to treat notorious sex offenders discuss doing "empathy work," as with victim impact panels or in writing letters to victims. This is not to say that it is easy to get people to be empathic, but that empathy is the safety mechanism we seek in human interaction.
Empathy is more than taking other people's feelings into account. We may label people "psychopathic" whom we believe to be incapable of empathy, and yet recognize that they are masters at recognizing and manipulating feelings of people they victimize. Empathy implies altering one's objectives or agenda in response to the feelings and perceived needs of those one's behavior affects. Manipulation means using the feelings and needs of others to get what you were after in the first place. Empathy means learning from others' feedback on how you are affecting them to want or care about something new and
different. Empathy is a higher level of learning from the feelings and needs of others than manipulation-learning anew what matters instead of learning how to get what already matters most.
Instead of counting dollars value of property damaged or stolen, or numbers of assaults or homicides, let alone instead of counting numbers of youths or others arrested by police, we should be evaluating what forms of intervention leave people interacting more or less empathically. In the remainder of this essay I discuss how to measure the waxing and waning of empathic relations.
THE BALANCE OF DISCOURSE
I do not propose that trends in empathy are more readily measurable than trends in crime. Instead, as physicists infer masses too small or far away to see from movement around them, so we can observe whether observable social processes are more or less conducive to empathy.
I draw upon Miller's (1990 ) explanation of what turns empathy on and off. We are created spontaneously empathic. Just as we as children learn new languages spontaneously and readily, so we readily recognize and respond to others' feelings. When, however, we are punished for expressing our feelings, or made to feel and believe as others tell us we must "for your own good," we dissociate. Dissociation means a blocking or loss of capacity to feel. Insofar as we tune out to our own feelings, we lose capacity to feel what others do, to empathize. In this state of oblivion to others' feelings, we become capable of hurting others without being moved by their pain. Whether we are on our own mission or as in Milgram's (1975) famous experiments following someone else's orders, we become violent-unmoved or perhaps even stimulated by the pain or fear we are causing others. Dissociation results from violence, and in turn causes violence or causes people to accept violence without protest or to do violence to themselves.
It is not trauma itself which produces dissociation and violence, says Miller, but the repression of trauma-having to bury one's feelings about the trauma. So it becomes the task of those who would help others heal from post-traumatic stress to offer enough safety that the feelings which have been buried to surface and be shared. The process of healing from dissociation is one of discovery that one can share one's most shameful and scariest secrets and feelings, and still be loved and accepted by those with whom one shares. This is the path by which victims of violence become survivors who know and feel something wrong happened to them, rather than feeling that something is wrong with them themselves (Herman, 1992). This is also the path by which people regain empathy and transcend the compulsion to do violence (Gilligan, 1996), insofar as that transformation occurs at all (McKendy, 1999). At the most basic level as in dyadic relations, empathy is the catalyst for breaking through dissociation and restoring empathy in others.
Navajo tradition as represented in that nation's peacemaking court is the most comprehensive elaboration I have found of the structure and process by which empathy is promoted in the face of violence (Yazzie, 1998; Zion, 1998). As Navajos see it, violence is imbalance of force or presence. So, in human interaction, violence means that some have power over others. Human interaction may be defined as conversation or discourse. In these terms, violence means that some parties to the conversation are doing more than an equal share of the talking, while others are forced to do more than an equal share of the listening.
Wagner-Pacifici (1994) showed that in the confrontation between a group of residents calling themselves MOVE in Philadelphia and the police, an outbreak of deadly violence by the police was foreshadowed in negotiations by the fact that MOVE members' voices were largely cut out of the preceding negotiation process. Inversely, the Navajo peacemaking court formally culminates in a circle. Parties to a dispute sit in the circle, joined by their relatives and friends-by all those expected to be involved in living with the aftermath of the dispute. Conversation there is facilitated by a community member known and respected for skill in listening. The conversation moves around the circle. No one is required to speak, but each member has an equal opportunity to speak. Speakers are encouraged to speak from the heart-not to say what is expected of them, but to say what they truly feel. In turn, each member shares equal opportunity to listen to others. It is deemed perfectly appropriate to tell other members of the circle how they have made the speaker feel, but it is anathema to Navajo tradition for any speaker to tell anyone else what s/he should feel or do in response. Like Miller, the Navajo see this as promoting violence-taking away responsibility from each person for his or her own feelings and actions.
Round and round the circle the conversation goes, until no one has anything left to say. The facilitator ends the court as s/he began, with a prayer of thanks and for guidance from the creator, who has given us the capacity to love and respect one another.
This is my own understanding of how the peacemaking court works. I see the peacemaking court as paradigmatic of what might well also be called participatory democracy (Pepinsky, 1991)-the social process by which empathy is promoted over violence.
Like Wagner-Pacifici in counting the proportion of various parties' points of view appearing in transcripts and accounts, one need not apply the Navajo model literally in order to use it. The point is that in daily life as in formal processes, violence is promoted insofar as some actors have more say than others, while empathy is promoted insofar as actors take turns speaking and listening. As radical feminists like Brock-Utne (1985, 1989) note, this metaphor of taking turns speaking and listening can be generalized from sharing conversation time to sharing of physical space and of material resources. This applies even to applications of force to resist violence-to minimizing the force resorted to to interrupt violence, and to follow that application of force with an opportunity for the recipient of the force to be fairly heard in the aftermath. Even Miller the would-be
empath and a penal abolitionist like Morris (1995) allow for the necessity of confining "the dangerous few" who are compulsively violent if left at liberty, but confinement need not preclude the prisoner's having a voice in how s/he lives there (Murton and Hyams, 1968).
I propose that instead of trying to measure whether crime and criminality rise and fall, we measure instead whether participation in social discourse, setting by setting, becomes more or less balanced as a result of our intervention. I have heard criminologists say that our measures of crime and criminality may be imperfect, but that we need to make do with the best measures we have at hand. As Kuhn (1974) points out, no logic dictates when to abandon one paradigm in favor of another, but I for one find much greater promise in studying how to democratize our way out of violence than in studying how to overwhelm crime and criminals with force and the threat of force.
Adult incarceration and juvenile detention rates in the United States continue to rise astronomically. I discount claims that increased punishment of offenders has reduced crime and personal violence. Instead, the public remains vulnerable to pressure to increase punishment of offenders because our most deepseated victimization, and its attendant fear and anger, remain unrecognized and unaddressed. Punitiveness and victimization will abate only as we draw victims and offenders into safe, honest, democratic discourse. In the next chapter I further explore the pattern of rising punitiveness.
A NOTE ON METHOD
For the most part this volume is a compilation of articles I have published in recent years in so-called research journals. I see several redundancies as I look back through chapters one to six. My first reaction was to think I should edit the chapters to take out the redundancies. I now see that the redundancies belong in this recent research record of mine. Five redundancies stand out:
· Attempts to defend and account for my belief in stories of survival of organized intergenerational, politically and economically well-connected, torture of children, and of the penumbra of routine sexual betrayal of children by adult caretakers.
· Alice Miller (1990 [originally 1983]) is the European-based theorist of causes of violence who to me most clearly envisions the difference between violence and making peace.
· Descriptions of the way the Navajo peacemaking court is supposed to work have become my most concrete empirical vision of how peacemaking happens.
· "Empathy" or "responsiveness," as opposed to obedience, is the source of all
personal and structural safety-the foundation of all true communities of human interest.
· Participatory democracy is the European-based term I envision to embody the peacemaking process, which I repeatedly counterpose to "restorative justice," a globally prominent school of thought and practice often associated with peacemaking.
I have found one social research methodology text which advocates the research method I follow. Lincoln and Guba (1985) call the method "naturalistic inquiry." Egon was a distinguished educational research statistician. In this book, he and Yvonna S. Lincoln radically rethought how meaningful research takes place. Basically, the method is opportunistic. When the last data you took in raise a question, your first decision is: Who might most directly give me an answer? As you will see in this volume, I repeatedly ask people who are talked about to tell me about themselves. As readers will see in the chapter on "transcending literatyranny" for instance, early in my criminological career I began turning to correspondence with prisoners to find out what the so-called "criminal element," so laboriously described in criminological studies, had to say for themselves.
Lincoln and Guba do not reject statistics. There may come points where statistical slices of life answer questions, for instance about structural violence. In the next chapter, for example, I examine trends in incarceration rates.
I keep coming back to those who seem most often talked about and scapegoated, to speak for themselves. My unrelenting question is: How do we make peace in place of violence? I try to learn in every moment. If I am really learning from each moment, I won't know what I want to know next, until I have processed the data at hand, particularly from the humblest source.
As among those who are cited as academic criminologist, I enjoy an empirical advantage, and suffer an empirical disadvantage. First the disadvantage: While twenty years ago (Pepinsky, 1980) I tried to survey criminological research findings, I now have little time, as they say in our trade, to "keep up with the literature."
My advantage is that I believe that I know a far greater variety of criminological informants than most of my colleagues. I regularly correspond and hang out with prisoners, mental health clients, and apparent victims of staggering personal violence whom my colleagues know only on paper.
Most of all, as I discuss for instance in the chapter on "educating for peace," I learn most in my university classrooms. I think of "science" as "learning." I keep asking myself: How do the new data at hand either confirm or make me rethink my own theory of how to make peace rather than contributing to violence?
As far as I can see not many social scientists share this drive. Instead of being a contribution to their own basic understanding of how to address a problem like violence, each research study of theirs needs to stand on its own, as a self-contained, impersonal contribution to knowledge.
Meaning no offense to the many talented colleagues I have had whose contributions to criminology have influenced my thinking, I can over thirty years as a criminology professor count as isolated occasions I have had to exchange fundamental understandings of data with other professors. We allow ourselves little time to share our most basic professional convictions. In the classroom, I am in a position to engage students in honest, critical response to my research conclusions. I find that my understanding of violence and peacemaking is most reshaped by classroom dialogue. Opportunistically, naturalistically, my research findings are inseparable from my discoveries in "teaching," and for that matter, in "community service."
A decade ago, Elise Boulding taught me a lasting research lesson. She is an internationally eminent feminist sociological peace studies scholar whose work I have long admired (see recently, Boulding and Mayer, 2000). I asked her to write a foreword to my last book length attempt at theoretical synthesis (Pepinsky, 1991). She politely declined. She found the ideas in the book interesting but underdeveloped. She suggested that I follow the example of her husband, Kenneth Boulding (see, e.g., 1989). She told me that her also internationally eminent husband disclaimed having had new ideas for several decades, and instead, had tried to rethink and re-explain what to him was fundamental.
I hope for room to continue to learn and reshape my ideas, but I also recognize the value of trying to restate what I know, to continually make what I think I know subject to re- examination and reaction by others. I have noticed that as I vary explanation of fundamental findings of mine, that different listeners and readers resonate to my varying attempts to explain the findings. Especially in the classroom, the redundant ways I address the five points I list above have made sense to varying audiences. On one hand, I am curious to hear how readers of this volume respond to the variant renditions. On the other hand, I find it personally useful to review these attempts to elaborate fundamental points, and in the concluding chapter of this volume, re-synthesize my own thinking.
In each of the chapters before the concluding synthesis I focus on a discrete criminological issue. In this first study I argue that the primary dependent variable in criminology should be whether interaction is becoming more participatory, more democratic. In the next chapter I propose that incarceration trends in the United States can only level off or decline either when war is re-targeted at foreign enemies, or as response to violence becomes more participatory and democratic, more responsive. In Chapter 3, I describe how people manage to build community-mutually responsive relations with others-as a defense against personal and structural violence.
In Chapter 4, I focus on a classic criminological concern: How do we know whether a
violent offender has become safe company, and what can we do to bring about that transition? Implicitly, whether cast as "punishment" or "treatment," changing the offender has been seen as a matter of making offenders conform to a regime laid down by the proper authorities or professionals. I argue instead that command and obedience make people more dangerous, and that the same responsive, empathic relations on which community is built are the only way to make offenders safer company.
In Chapter 5, the peacemaking process becomes a guide to criminological research methods. Throughout all these chapters, I confront the reality which survivors of childhood sexual violence and their supporters have brought home to me-that the greatest personal violence we face is hidden. To respond to and become safer from this violence, we have to see and hear about it. Beyond being a cardinal principle of peacemaking, listening to the voices of the most silenced, powerless people among us becomes the most direct path to discovering the most deeply hidden violence. Rather than relying on a literature of expert findings about offenders and victims, I learn more from asking prisoners and survivors of personal violence to speak for themselves, drawing them into my own conversational circles. I draw these same voices into the classes I teach, where students commonly report having learned more from "real people" than they have from texts about the people.
In "Educating For Peace," I not only concentrate on the classroom setting in which my most concentrated learning occurs. In the context of the calling known as "educator," the peacemaking process which builds community applies: Students and teachers learn most when the classroom becomes an exercise in participatory democracy, and when the voices of those who have practically no legal recourse to safety, including students and the teacher, share their vulnerability and celebrate safety and healing.
All these chapters reflect that as a class, survivors of almost unimaginable childhood torture, by their nearest and dearest, also teach the profoundest lessons of how to survive and heal, of how to build trustworthy relations as a "family of choice" supplants a "family of origin."
The context changes from chapter to chapter, but the central theory of how to make peace changes little. I see from chapter to chapter that I often return to trying to explain a phenomenon I have already tried to explain a chapter earlier. The literature I cite varies by the time I originally wrote the chapter, as when I variously cite those who share my belief commonly discredited stories of childhood sexual violence, or descriptions of the Navajo peacemaking process. I long ago gave up on the idea that there is "the literature" on any subject. In writing as well as face to face, I happen to have bits of literature come my way which corroborate or inform my own theory of violence and peacemaking.
I went through a premium legal education wanting to find answers to other people's problems. In my peacemaking frame, I can only conceive of accounting for my own theory, inviting others to construct and account for their own theories. My highest aspiration for readers of this text is that they are encouraged to emulate a quest for one's
own understanding of the war on crime, and of how to fight it or how to make peace with it. If my theory is correct, I am safer and better educated when others speak for their own understanding and feelings rather than mimicking mine. As the chapter title goes, I fear that obedience does not work; I seek instead that people assume personal responsibility for their actions, beliefs and feelings. Please consider this volume an invitation to account for your own views and perspective.
I am still learning, constantly, fortunately. I share the writer's egotism; like any storyteller I want validation. I rely most on validation from my primary informants. In recent years survivors of child sexual abuse and their supporters have time and again reassured me that my distinction between violence and making peace makes practical sense, and captures what has worked for them. They have also corrected or re-informed me on numerous occasions.
There is a price in credibility and legitimacy to be paid for learning from societal losers. I imagine that among fellow members of the American Society of Criminology and of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, insofar as my work is noticed it is deemed eccentric and unreal or atheoretical. To persist learning as I try to do, I place my bets more on validation from people who are socially and professionally discredited than on professional validation and certification. For the entire three decades I have been a criminal justice professor, the U.S. Justice Department has dominated criminological research funding. I long ago learned that naturalistic inquiry was unfundable, particularly if the questions presupposed the view that obedience was dangerous. I rationalize that the best research data in life come for free. I don't pay prisoners and survivors to tell me their stories, in the classroom or in daily life. I don't seek human subjects clearance because all my learning is exploratory and unforeseeable. To me, all of life is a pilot study of what works and what does not. Fortunately, after several failures, I have survived in academia as a tenured full professor in a richly endowed research university. In all fairness, however, I have known many talented peacemaking educators who have been driven from academia. So in what I do for a paycheck as in everyday, assuming responsibility for one's own understanding of violence and peacemaking is risky. I do not blame people for being trapped in obedience to politically convenient notions of how to gain public safety.
* This title originally appeared in Criminal Justice Policy Review, 11, 2 (December 2000). The introduction is taken from "Empathy Works, Obedience Doesn't," Criminal Justice Policy Review, 9, 2, pp. 141-167 (1998).
A CRIMINOLOGIST'S QUEST FOR PEACE
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