Amidst the Ruins of Judgement
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Amidst the Ruins of Judgement book
There is something troubling, totalitarian even, about extorting critics to use a grammar of authoritative judgement in order to practise critique. Either s/he judges contexts against justified criteria, in the name of a specifically conceived progress, or runs the risk of being branded uncritical, a keeper of the status quo. Symptoms of judgemental critique’s ailing plight have dogged radical criminology for some time. As van Swaaningen and Taylor put it, after having paved the way for an alternative agenda, critical criminology was quite generally described, by the end of the 1980s, as being in crisis. In modern societies, knowledge tends to be legitimated by appealing to meta-discourses or to metanarratives. Through its challenges to positivist correctionalism, radical criminology has tended to eschew the former and embrace the latter; this is especially evident in the way that critical genres of judgement appeal to metanarratives of emancipation – often with universal pretensions – to justify their claims to knowledge.