Desire and the delinquent: Juvenile crime and deviance in fin-de-siècle French criminology

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2 Scopus citations


Historical outlines of fin-de-siècle European criminology have typically focused on the debate between supporters of Lombrosian anatomical determinism on the one hand, and the more environmentalist (i.e. French) explanations of crime on the other. What has gone largely unnoticed, however, is how the basic tenets of the 'French school' were shaped by an implicit moral concern with mass consumption and individualism, particularly in regard to juvenile crime. This paper examines the psychosocial conception of the juvenile criminal - within the particular context of fin-de-siècle culture, social theory and political ideology - to delineate how French criminologists encountered economic modernity and reconceptualized their understanding of the relationship between the child, the family and the state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-63
Number of pages19
JournalHistory of the Human Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • French criminology
  • Individualism
  • Juvenile crime
  • Mass consumption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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