Hypercrime: The New Geometry of Harm

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Routledge-Cavendish, 2007 - Education - 375 pages
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This book presents a new approach towards the interfaces between technology, contemporary crime and regulation. It argues that the conclusion adopted by most criminal justice practitioners and criminologists since the 1990s - that a distinct field of policy and theory referred to as 'cybercrime' has emerged - is flawed on both empirical and theoretical grounds. Not only is this a construction which depends upon a plethora of dubious statistics, it understates the role of State and corporate actors in the production of crimes online. Worse, this 'cybercrime paradigm' offers indirect justification for the increasing acquisition of new powers by governments, so furthering what has elsewhere been characterised as the 'control society'.
Offering a spatial analysis of harms effected by technology, this book situates contemporary crime and its control within longer term historical developments which serve to extend the human body. Characterising the new geometries of social interaction that result in terms of a process referred to as 'hyperspatialisation', the book argues that a concept of hypercrime becomes an equally plausible interpretation of the effect of technologies which 'compress' distance - most obviously the internet or the mobile phone system. Hypercriminalities emerge from a hyperspatial world by way of what McLuhan once called its 'allatonceness' - where the (real) possibilities of ever present, remote harms combine with inflated perceptions of their danger. In such a world not only do credit card frauds, online predators or viruses threaten to harm us, so too do the measures that we create to control them.

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About the author (2007)

Dr Michael McGuire teaches in the Department of Applied Social Studies at London Metropolitan University.

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