Lindsay Farmer, "Making the Modern Criminal Law: Criminalization and Civil Order" (Oxford UP, 2016)


In his latest book, Professor Lindsay Farmer offers a historical and conceptual analysis of theories of criminalization. The book shows how criminalization is inextricably linked to the making of the modern criminal law. This distinct body of rules and processes is neither fixed nor inevitable in what, who, and how it criminalizes. Instead, it is constructed by the changing functions of criminal law as an instrument of government in the modern state. In this way, the criminal law, and processes of criminalization shape the modern civil order.

Making of the Modern Criminal Law: Criminalization and Civil Order first traces the development of the modern criminal law as an institution, and shows how this secures civil order. Specifically, it identifies particular aspects of criminal law – those being jurisdiction, codification and responsibility – to give an understanding how social order is constructed by the criminal law. The book then provides detailed analysis of three particular areas of criminal law, focusing on patterns of criminalization in relation to property, the person and sexual conduct.

The book is essential reading for scholars of criminal law and theory, criminalization, and all those who wish to understand the far-reaching impact of the criminal law on social order. Farmer raises questions relevant for lawyers, legislators and theorists and asks the reader to question their assumptions about the modern criminal law, the process of criminalization and social order.

Lindsay Farmer is a professor of law at the University of Glasgow. He has previously held teaching posts at the University of Strathclyde, and at Birkbeck College, University of London. He has spent time as a visiting professor at the Center for Law and Society in the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Toronto, Columbia University, New York and the University of Sydney. He is the author of a number of books, and has recently been awarded a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship (2019-2022) to work on a project entitled "Rethinking the Relation between Criminal Law and Markets". In 2019 he was elected as a Fellow of the British Academy.

Jane Richards is a doctoral candidate in Human Rights Law at the University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include disability, equality, criminal law and civil disobedience. You can find her on twitter @JaneRichardsHK where she avidly follows the Hong Kong’s protests and its politics.

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Jane Richards

Jane Richards is a Lecturer in Law at York Law School, UK.

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