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International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy Queensland University of Technology 2202-8005 The International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy is an open access, blind peer reviewed journal that publishes critical research about challenges confronting criminal justice systems around the world. Committed to Open Access  and democratising quality knowledge production and dissemination. FREE TO DOWNLOAD AND FREE TO PUBLISH!
International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy 5 4

The Metamorphosis of the Victim of Crime: From Crime to Culture and the Implications for Justice


Beck (2015: 81) observes, metamorphosis ‘is proceeding latently, behind the mind walls of unintended side effects, which are being constructed as ‘natural’ and ‘self-evident’. Thus Beck’s concept of metamorphosis conceives of social change as unnoticed and unacknowledged. Such change is evident in the contemporary ever present invocation of the ‘victim’ in a wide range of different, crime-soaked circumstances. This paper is concerned to explore this metamorphosis of the ‘victim’ in reflecting on two narratives: the victim narrative and the trauma narrative. The contemporary conflation of these two narratives has led Agamben (1999: 13) to suggest that policy has proceeded as if ‘“testis” (the testimony of a person as a third party in a trial or a law suit) can be conflated with “superstes” (a person who has lived through something and can thereby bear witness to it)’. The paper makes the case that this conflation has consequences for understandings of justice.

Pages:4 to 16
Section: Articles
8 citation(s) in Scopus
7 citation(s) in Web of Science


Total Abstract Views: 1662  Total Unknown Downloads: 401  Total PDF Downloads: 811

Author Biography

University of Liverpool and QUT
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Eleanor Rathbone Chair of Sociology