Tracing the development of Carol Smart's ideas over the last 20 years, this volume brings together, for the first time, the most important essays by one of the leading theorists of our generation. Law, Crime and Sexuality transcends the traditional fragmentation of sociology, criminology, socio-legal studies, feminist theory and philosophy, enabling readers to draw from a range of disciplines to see the connections between various key themes and debates. Compiled specifically for students' needs, these essays demonstrate that theory need not be inaccessible and promote, not only a conceptual understanding of the law, but an awareness of the extent to which the law is implicated in our everyday lives.
The book is divided into three sections, each prefaced by a specially-written introduction, which examine the major trends in contemporary thought: the shift from criminology to the sociology of law; the identification of law as a site of struggle rather than as a tool of reform; the recognition of the contested nature of 'woman' as a category; the significance of the developing situation where feminists must debate about values and epistemologies without fearing the demise of feminist politics. In addition, the text includes Carol Smart's most recent thoughts in an original final chapter which develops further her challenging work on the gendering and sexing of the body, the survival of sociological feminism and the development of new ways of going about women and law. The ideas presented here will generate further ideas and argument, making this book essential reading for all students of criminology, women and law, sociology of law and women's studies.
`The great strength of this collection is the author's ability to write clearly about theoretical issues of great complexity. It should therefore prove extremely useful to its intended audience of students in the law and the social sciences. In teaching legal theory I have found `The Woman of Legal Discourse' (Chapter 11) invaluable as a way of bringing out some of the main themes of feminist jurisprudence' - LCCJ Newsletter
`Smart aims to increase the accessibility of theory to students. This is an ambitious task, yet it is tackled well. Theory is not simplified to the point of distortion.... Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the collection is the opportunity provided to understand the evolution of a knowledge project over twenty years which has tried to demystify law and to render its workings more transparent. It provides a rich understanding of law and the extent of its impact on the daily lives of all of us, not only in times of trouble such as divorce or victimisation. Rather, it frames our lives in terms of the possibilities open to us and operates as a discourse which creates legal subjects such as rape victims or lone mothers' - Sociology
'Provides an excellent forum to evaluate and debate those aspects of Carol Smart's work in criminology, the sociology of law and sexuality, and feminism, which will continue to influence a large generation of students and scholars' - Social & Legal Studies
'Carol Smart, argues that institutional and intelectual boundaries often prevent criminologists, socio-legal communities, and feminists from reading each others' works. In her collection of essays,Smart therefore sets out to demonstrate how her feminist project is formed by, and informs, wider debates in sociology, criminology, socio-legal studies, and feminist theory and philosophy......Specifically, Smart highlights how postmodern ideas have led her to question the feasibility of using legal systems for emancipatory puroses....
Smart's collection is a valuable contribution to current discussions about law, crime, and sexuality. The accessibility, scope and chronological arrangement of the collection make it especially useful for introducing students to the history of scholarship on female criminality and to recent developments in critical and leagal theory. Moreover, Smart's insightful suggestions about the discursive construction of "crime" and the "criminal" introduce a welcome alternative to current approaches for addressing the problem of both male and female criminality.' Crime, Law & Social Change 26/1997