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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.  The Journal is committed to democratising quality knowledge production and dissemination. Authors retain copyright and articles are licenced via Creative Commons to make published articles more readily available and useable. There are no APCs (Article Processing Charges). Authors can submit and publish at no cost.
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.

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


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Author Biography

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