The Modern State and fear
The need for security is often depicted as an instinctive phenomenon, symptom of a pre-modern attitude, refusal of the complexity of the corporate relations, negation of a predictable/calculable action.
The fear of crime – individual or collective – should be a sentiment to discipline, reproach, and remove. The many who support these theories neglect the fact that the modernity and its great institutions derived not from the removal of the social alarms, but as a response to deep-rooted fears present in the community (1)
. The Modern State, as Hobbes reminds us, finds, in the fear of others, its own legitimation. The citizen gives up certain liberties to attribute to a superior authority the task of protecting him. The fear of the other man, in the leviathan, leads to the birth of the Modern State which cancels the feudal hierarchical pluralism and favours the individual responsibility. The subsequent transformations of the modern political institutions originate as responses to other fears which are added to that of the other man: the fear of the State, the fear of the society, the fear generated by the actions of large organizations that operate in the market. The liberal institutions are a vehicle of defence from the threats that can come from the uncontrolled operations of an absolute power. The Hobbesian State protects the individual from the violence of other individuals, but does not contain in itself antidotes against the violence or public misuse of power. From here, the theory of the political representation and, above all, the philosophy of constitutionalism that subjects the public actions to generally intangible regulations, that is, able to resist the changeable will of an ordinary legislator.
The democratic State and the social State affirm themselves as defence against the threats that could arise from certain characteristics of the modern civil society. The democratic State wants to correct the distortions produced by an unequal distribution of the wealth, attributing to each citizen, with universal suffrage, equal capacity to decide. The social State proposes to defend great social groups from the possible negative effects of the market economy and from the introduction of machines into the production. To the insecurity and uncertainty, produced by the factory and by the industrial production, the social State responds by trying to construct a system of certainty for the non-autonomous worker.
Along side of a conception of the need for security, considered as expression of a primitive instinct, is also that which makes this need derive from a strategy. The fears present in the society, according to this hypothesis, are the result of a manipulation of the public opinion carried out by the governing classes, by the holders of political authority and by formal or informal powers. Since the 90’s, we have seen the revival in Europe and the United States of literature (which proposes again the beliefs of Michel Foucault (2)
) oriented towards the definition of the Modern State as a structure devoted to the disciplining of the subordinate classes.
Such orientation considers the fear of the crime as a result of a manipulative strategy executed by the public powers to distract the attention of the community from concrete matters, such as the economic crisis and the fiscal crisis of the State, to symbolic questions like the criminality or the presence in the urban areas of new dangerous classes, identifiable by evident signs of ethnic, linguistic and cultural foreignness.
The diffusion of strong alarm over the criminality, the emphasis on the theme of punishment and responsibility would have the scope of conditioning public opinion. It would be induced to renounce the idea of a collective responsibility in the solution of serious social problems (the principle that has guided the policies of the Welfare State, which inspired the Western elite, in the greater part of the 20th Century) to return to the idea of individual responsibility (typical of the liberal culture). On the basis of such theories the new attention towards the matter of punishment and control of the deviant behaviour, in addition to performing a cultural type of function ( to give credence again to the individual responsibility) would contribute to the control of a part of the population collocated in the outcast condition of the socially underprivileged. The prison would be a device “which would translate itself, for those who live on the inferior strata of the society, in a meticulous and severe social control” (3)
. The growth of the rate of imprisonment, very high in the United States and in rapid rise in Europe, would have the scope of disciplining a quota of the population, forced by a new system of economic relations, to marginalization, to precariousness and to impoverishment. The control would be realized through detention type measures and through techniques of compulsory social service, intended to join the criminal sanction to the re-socialization (4)
The objectivity of the phenomena
The reflections on the insecurity are not limited to consider it as a result of a social construction or a conspiracy intended to manipulate public opinion. In the last ten years, researches have grown in matters of criminology, oriented to furnish eloquent quantitative data and useful interpretive hypotheses. In a study on theft (5)
, Marzio Barbagli, for example, highlights the entity of the hidden figure of crimes against personal goods and property (estimating it to be triple the figure of those reported, and tries to explain the growth of crime in the developed societies. The author further elaborates the classic hypothesis, according to which the crime against possessions is probably favoured by the differentials of resources that divides the area of wealth from that of poverty ( at both an international level and in the national communities) and he introduces a new hypothesis: the mobility of the population as grounds for the multiplication of the predatory activities. “A growing number of persons move from one place to another (…). The population of the ‘city-users’ has increased (…) Thus moving the potential victims nearer to those who are disposed to commit a crime, creating crowds and traffic jams, the spatial mobility favours bag snatching, pick-pocketing, mugging, and car stealing (…). Finally, the mass production and consumption has facilitated the development of a stolen goods market” (6)
. Barbagli also tackles the question of the foreign criminality. The author does not attribute the cause of the explosions of criminality solely to immigration, but he underlines that “in the last ten years, the quota of the foreigners in the total of the convicted persons has continually increased” (7)
Indirectly, Barbagli also highlights the origin of certain social alarms, signalling that “the quota of foreigners of the convicted persons has reached much higher values in certain places and in certain strata of the population than in others” and that “these values are exceptionally elevated in the large centre-northern cities of Italy, where the levels have almost reached those of the European Countries that have a percentage of foreigners in the population much higher than ours” (8)
.Finally, Barbagli emphasizes the role that the irregular immigrants play in the growth of the criminality. “In the total of the non-EU citizen reported for various crimes, those without residence permit are almost 70% for voluntary lesions, 75% for murder, 85% for mugging and robbery. So, if today, the regular immigrants commit crimes more often than the natives (…) the irregulars exceed many times the criminal rate of both the natives and the regular immigrants”. (9)
Ineffectiveness of controls
The growth of crime is favoured/fuelled by the presence of informal networks in support of deviant behaviour and of the absence of effective measures of punishment/prevention. In studying the causes of the criminality of the immigrants, Barbagli points out the importance of appealing networks, of fabrics of culture/community traditions that favour more and more the entrance of new subjects. The author stresses how only the virtuous part of these networks is known, the part oriented to employment in the work market. “ Instead, little or nothing is known of the corrupt networks of those who operate for other purposes. And yet, even they perform a crucial role. It is through such networks that the relatives and friends remaining at home receive, from the immigrants in the Italian cities, precious information on illicit activities, on how much they yield and on what risks are involved. And it is thanks to these networks that they obtain help to get over the borders into our Country, find accommodation, and start small or large trafficking”. (10)
Barbagli also draws attention to how the failed application of certain administrative regulations had had a criminogenic effect and had contributed to the multiplication of crimes. “The growth of the criminality of the irregular immigrants was (…) favoured also by the inefficiency of the system of controls within our Country. The Martelli Law, remaining in force until February 1998 and the lack of collaboration from the Countries of origin made, in fact, (…) the expulsion from Italy of the foreigners without resident permits, impossible. This situation had two different outcomes. The first, paradoxically, is that the irregular immigrants enjoyed greater impunity than the regular immigrants. The reason being that the latter have an authentic document of identity and, therefore, if they commit a serious crime, as well as losing their resident permit, they can be easily repatriated. The second outcome is that a numerous legion of people – no longer able to re-enter the legal work market – dedicated themselves, full-time, to illicit activities” (11)
Insecurity cannot be reduced to cultural construction (irrational, ideological, induced), but neither can it be considered as an automatic answer to a growing criminality (quantitative or kind). The existence of a threat is, without a doubt, at the origins of insecurity. But the dimension of the insecurity does not derive only from the existence of a risk. The Modern society has found its typical configuration in the capacity of controlling or protecting against natural phenomena and, therefore of being able to manage great risks. Industry and industrial machines are the result of the human capacity (of a man born in a determinate social context) to control the forces of nature. The fear of the modern man is not related to the threatening phenomena, but rather, to the possibility and the capacity to fight them. Ulrich Beck, sociologist of risk, has shown the extremely close link existing between social alarm and the availability of necessary/useful remedies to face the threat. The Modern society of risk, Beck writes, is not a product of quantifiable events: “this political explosiveness cannot be described or measured (…) in terms of dead or injured, nor with scientific formulas” (12)
.The society of risk is configured the moment in which “the consequences and the global dangers, fruit of the decisions of our civilization, are in total contrast with the language of the institutionalized control and with the promise of control of the situation”. (13)
). Fear, in Beck’s analysis, forms and spreads when, in the presence of a threat, remedies do not seem to exist, or will be refused or will be too late.
Security in the industrial society
Today, the sense of security is, in part, fed by the failure of assurances on the subject of protection of the society from crime. The industrial society produced great modifications in the distribution of the population on the territories, in the social strata, in the social mobility, in the dimensions of observance and deviance. The advent of the industrial society was the theatre of a great movement of populations from the country to the cities. The first industrialization saw mass transfers from agriculture to industry, the second industrialization was characterized by the migration of labour force from the less industrialized countries to the more developed ones.
The great population movements produced by the industrial society were accompanied by the multiplication of criminal phenomena.
The economic literature (but also that of simple social description- one thinks of the English novels of the 18th Century and those of the French of the 19th Century) in describing that phase, defined as primitive accumulation, never failed to mention the increase in crime. A part of the populations that moved from the country to the city was led to actions and predatory activities as a consequence of the insecurities of the work market.
The industrial society responded to the new insecurity with a series of direct measures (criminal regulations, activities of prevention and of police) and indirect (social organizations, first forms of protection of the socially marginalized).I
A homogeneous strategy
A direct response to the disorder produced by the movement of populations which accompanied the birth of the industry is the formation of a State repressive system, uniform and no longer fragmented. The advent of the modern industrial society is accompanied by the diffusion of homogeneous criminal systems in the national States and of a prevention/jurisdictional, basically homogeneous system. The normative pluralism of the Ancien regime (in which the illicit acts are defined in an extremely changeable way) and the organizational pluralism (plurality of jurisdiction, non-homogeneity of the sanctions, system of immunity) is substituted by the principle of the universality of the criminal law (14)
. It must strike the illicit wherever it is committed and without providing for privileged treatment deriving from status ( e.g. the exemptions of the Clergy, the aristocracy, the different trial statutes of the feudal peasant and of the bourgeois).
A further response directed to the disorder produced by the industrialization is the finalization of the punishment to social rehabilitation. The philosophy of the utilitarianism orients the penalty to the benefit of the society. The punishment that follows the crime must not add further injuries to the social body. Utilitarianism is against corporal punishments or mutilations because they are measures that produce assistance burdens, which worsen the consequences of the crime. The theory of the scope in the criminal Law and the Positive School finalizes the punishment to the social re-integration. The criminal procedure of the 20th Century is prevalently inspired by the principle of prevention.
Order and the social fabric
However, the order in the industrial society is guaranteed by the spontaneous repressive/disciplinary organizations that intervene in the social fabric. An instrument able to guarantee order in the industrial society is the organization of the production. The fathers of the 19th Century social science are unanimous in considering the factory as the principal vehicle of social order. Auguste Comte considers the work market as a fundamental factor of observance in the Modern society (15)
. Marx speaks of a silent action of force of the economic relations (16)
. Spencer see the industrial society as a theatre of pacified relations, place of the extinction of violence (17)
. With the passage from the Úlitist liberal State to the democratic State, and with the diffusion of the policies of Welfare, the redistribution of public resources becomes, in the developed society, a strong instrument of containment of deviant behaviour.
R.K. Merton, with his analysis of anomy (18)
, described the origins of deviant behaviour in the societies of unequal opulence. The anomic behaviour is an attempt to reach socially appreciated destinations with instruments different from those conventionally approved.
Deviance, therefore, is the product of the lack of lawful means or of the absence of knowledge of the institutional means necessary/sufficient for the attainment of socially appreciated ends. The Welfare policies configure as an attempt to offer, to all those who have political citizenship, the necessary instruments to reach social destinations, valorised by the society.
In the industrial society the diffusion of the great manufacturing of products joined to the growth of the policies of social re-distribution reduces the occasions of deviance. To those who observe the criminal statistics of the developed Countries after the 2nd World War (phase in which the West chooses the policies of inclusion, designed by Lord Beveridge) will note a constant fall in both criminality and in imprisonment. The phenomenon is ascribable to the measures of social pacification/inclusion introduced by the developed Countries at the end of the 2nd World War (19)
and to a growth of the production that involves, in homogeneous measure, the Western Countries until the oil crisis of 1973.
The post-industrial society
Also the post-industrial society is characterized by the great population movements. Today, the megalopolises flourish, in the First (20)
as well as in the Third World. The processes of globalization of the work and of economy induce powerful phenomena of urban drift. They are generated, first of all, by the new opportunities of a production and of a distribution without boundary of the merchandise and, in the second place, by a strongly unequal distribution of the resources. Certain data (like that on literacy and infantile mortality rates) leave room to hypothesize on a reduction of the absolute impoverishment of the weakest part of the world population. Other data (that relative to the income per head in the group of the richest Countries and in the poorest groups) indicate a growth of the relative impoverishment. The income differentials, in the presence of a rapid innovation of the sciences and of the models of production, heavily condition not only the availability of certain consumer goods, but also the profound aspects of life. The world is being divided between Countries with a life expectancy close to 80 years and Countries with a life expectancy tied down to 40 years!
The great post-industrial migration is due as much to the process of globalization as to the difficulties of equally distributing the resources of high technological content (growing cost of the health innovation, cost of linking up to the networks, of energy and the developed technology). The structure of the post-industrial work itself encourages new forms of deviant behaviour. Rifkin hypothesizes a non-conjunctional, but a structural criminality in the post-industrial world (21)
. According to this scholar, a poor and desperate population that feeds a diffused criminal sub-culture will be encamped at the doors of the “new super-technological global village” (22)
The crisis of the instruments of control
In the post-industrial society certain of the instruments that allow the society an efficacious control of deviant behaviour are lacking. In the more developed societies, the Fordian factory, the central/hierarchical organization of the work is lacking; the large structure able to discipline and contain in space and time determinate significant quotas of population is lacking. The social control of the time and of the space is lacking: a phenomenon typical of the industrial society. The post-industrial production breaks up; it becomes delocalized and spreads both in space and time. The space and time of the production of the wealth in the post-industrial dimension become indeterminate. The nature of the production (often post-material, symbolic, informatics) permits a casual and occasional localization.
The characters of the production impose fragmented production times: intermittent or serial. In the post-industrial ambit it is always more difficult to control the territory and the time, from the point of view of the vocation. In the global cities the space of the residence coincides with that of the production of the wealth and of the distribution of the goods. In the post-Fordian economy, the distinction between work time, free time and rest time vanishes. In the post-industrial society the possibility of favouring the inclusion with the re-distribution of public resources is reduced. The post-industrial economy in the developed Countries manifests itself in conjunction with the fiscal crisis of the State (the impossibility of an increased fuelling of the public expenses through the fiscal lever) and with the necessity of modifying the Welfare budgets. The withering of the relation of subordinate work and of the great work organizations imposes the changing of the systems of assistance. Welfare can no longer found its own expectations on the contributions derived from the entrance of always new cohorts in the salaried jobs, but it must measure itself with the logic of the market: the setting aside of growing quotas of income, the investment with the correlated risks. The social transformations affect also certain specific instruments of control of deviant behaviour. The post-industrial model, characterized by large migration, makes it more and more difficult to finalize the sanction to the re-integration. Re-integration of whom? Re-integration to what model of society? Re-integration as promise of inclusion? Re-integration as a condition of a possible exclusion? The policies of enlargement of the social citizenship, inaugurated after the 2nd World War had, as prerequisite, the existence of a sure figure of the citizenship policy. In a formal sense, social benefits were attributed to the citizens by a more equal distribution of the incomes. But how can it operate if one expects to supply the social citizenship to an indeterminate universe of needy people?
In the post-industrial societythe multiplication of the alarms joined to the crisis of the anti-crime remedies, typical of an industrial society, provokes a request for multiplication of controls, of innovations in prevention, of repression aimed to counteract the emerging pathologies. The need of security often manifests itself with the request of Draconian measures and with recourse to formulas having a strong capacity of participation. At the end of the 90’’s, the “Zero Tolerance” formula had much success in the United States and in certain European Countries. It was inaugurated in the city of New York by the Mayor, Giuliani Rudolf with the additional help of William Bratton. This formula went alongside the theory of the “broken window”, elaborated by some scholars in the preceding years: a theory which, beginning with some experimental data and certain evidence, considered the tolerance of a small amount of disorder as a stimulating factor of the multiplication of disorder. As already
mentioned, the Zero Tolerance had much success in the United States and, in some cases, it was exported to Europe. The results in the city of New York caused a significant reduction in predatory and violent criminality. The Zero tolerance gives rise to easy emotions. It has a strong element of attraction (23)
and a strong capacity to produce repulsion. A sector of the criminology has wanted to demonize it as a synonym of repressiveness, as an expression of reactionary ideologies, as a manifestation of a punitive desire towards the social discomfort (rather than to social disorder). Zero Tolerance for a legal practitioner trained on the European Continent, evokes the Kantian imperative, to mete out the punishment, in any way and in any situation, as a confirmation of the authority of the State. In the practices of the United States, however, it means something quite different. It is a technique of prevention which is not indiscriminate, but is aimed to satisfy the most urgent needs of security and to optimize the public action. An essential aspect of the strategy of Mayor Giuliani was the reduction of waste and the destination of the security resources to targeted and selected objectives. The New York City Police Department (24)
counted on, in organizing the prevention, the Compstat system, a programme of surveillance (with the auxiliary aid of informatics and statistics techniques of projection in space as well as time, of important social data) of the crime with close periodic deadlines. Through the Compstat System, the New York Administration was able to identify the urban areas in which, periodically, the crime activities intensified, and to know the nature of the crimes committed. The data allowed the assignment of the prevention activities to the zones hit by a major criminal activity and to orient police action to the prevention of the more serious crimes or to those which, in the absence of immediate police intervention would have been able to multiply.
Adaptability and efficacy
The elasticity of the prevention is a characteristic of the Anglo-Saxon criminal systems. The USA, in the 90’s, was a theatre of a plurality of strategies which often had radically different orientations. Alongside the prevention policy introduced to New York by the Mayor Giuliani was, for example, that of the City of San Diego, which preferred to the Zero Tolerance, a form of community control of the transgression. The San Diego model, more than to the repression, was inspired by the techniques of the reduction of deviant behaviour, proposed by the celebrated work of Jane Jacobs (25)
dedicated to the lifestyle, to the systems of relations, to the informal solidarity in the urban quarters.
The elasticity in the United States is favoured by the organization of the activities of investigation, of prevention and of exercise of the criminal actions. The popular election or the nomination of the police summits and of the offices of the prosecution by an administrative political authority, favours a strong social control. The strategy of prevention in the United States system configures as a choice of the community rather than a decision of a public/bureaucratic authority bound by the community in which it is called to operate. The model of trial, the organization of the prevention, the close relations between the police and the community existent in the United States are, for the most part, at the base of the success of the new policies of the security (26)
and, more in general, of the innovations in matters of security.
The European model
The criminal systems of continental Europe are prevalently inspired by centralistic principles. The organization of the judiciary and of the police in Europe is more similar to the Napoleonic administration than to the civic culture of the Anglo-Saxon Countries. In Europe, the Napoleonic model is manifested in a graduated way and with appreciable differences between different States.
Germany attenuates centralism attributing a role to the Lńnder in the selection of judges and public prosecutors. In France, the bureaucratic ethos is mitigated by forms of institutional control of the prosecution, which allows its orientation towards the prevalent social needs. In Spain, the parliamentary control is strong, both in the judicial function and in the police function. As Guarnieri observes (27)
, only Italy enjoys (or suffers from) a judicial system and a police system equipped with very strong bureaucratic connotations. Connotations which, with time, have become reinforced. With the new Code of Criminal Procedure, the centrality attributed to the investigative offices of the investigations has reduced the possibility of the prevention police and investigative police to gauge the intervention to the needs and to the alarms present in the social body. The Italian system of prevention is constructed on an organization of centralistic police bodies and on a bureaucratic recruitment/organization of the offices of the prosecution. The constitutional principle of the compulsoriness of the criminal action, interpreted as indisputability of the choices of the prosecution also in matters of criminal policy and social defence policy (that is, of defining the priority of intervention) entrusts the task of responding to the social alarms to an office that operates with difficulty of coordination and control. The new Code of Criminal Procedure has even reduced the scarce powers which the Attorney General enjoyed in the district of jurisdiction.
Spontaneism and prevention
In the face of the difficulty of gauging the strategies of prevention to the social needs, a plurality of proposals emerge in Italy and Europe. From the request of the attribution of functions of surveillance to informal groups of citizens, to the request for a larger role of local elective authority in the organization of the prevention and, at times, in the definition of new forms of malfeasance.
The risk of spontaneistic thrusts does not lie in the break down of a centralized conception of the prevention, derived from a philosophy that attributes a supremacy of the State over the citizen, and to the public authority the faculty of legitimizing the needs present in the society. The risk, rather more, consists in the partiality and in the occasionality of the remedies. The spontaneism in the prevention can create momentary forms of reassurance, but it is not able to respond to the more serious alarms on the security. These do not limit themselves to ask for the “do it yourself” remedy, but demand a new orientation of the public powers, in matters of regulations, in the policy of expenditure, in the relations with the community.
Regulations and innovation
A criminal policy able to efficiently counteract crime is essential to the recovery of trust and to the reduction of alarms. The instruments are diverse. First of all, the regulations. The problem is not so much the severity of the punishment as the recovery of the principle of
responsibility: effectiveness of the sanctions, refusal of any form, direct or indirect, of justification for criminal behaviour. There are not only social factors at the origin of the multiplication of criminal behaviour (e.g. immigration, jobs, widening of the division between classes), but there are also cultural factors.
Criminal regulations always and in every case oriented towards an objective of inclusion and a diffused ideology of de-legitimizing the punitive institutions has favoured, over time, forms of justification for deviant behaviour (28)
. It is not possible to fight crime if one always considers it as an inevitable consequence of a sickness of the social organization. A second instrument is the innovation. The innovation does not always mean added expense, burdens on the budget, movement of resources or re-distributive conflicts. The function of sophisticated technology cannot be underestimated, but it is necessary to remember also the role played by the changes of procedures, by the utilization, at low cost (sometimes at zero cost) of experimented techniques of social management/programming. In many cases the innovation, in matters of security, requires a heavy commitment of expenditure and significant movements of budget items. In other cases, the innovation coincides with an economy of management.
Community and action
A fundamental element for an economy policy of the prevention lies in the connection with the community. A defined strategy in contact with the needs of the civil society permits the optimizing of costs. The participation of the community in defining the strategies of social defence must not be considered as a vehicle of always larger investments:
the participation is also source of control and rationality.
The contribution of the civil society, furthermore, also has the capacity of reducing the alarm. The insecurity, in the risk society, does not come only from the threat or from the entity of the harm that a social group has suffered, above all, it comes from the realization of the absence of remedies able to counteract the threat or from the lack of a decisive will to activate them.
The insecurity is also the product of centralistic organizations of the prevention, from a bureaucratization of the strategies of counteraction against crime. Alarm is often a manifestation of dissatisfaction with the Institutions, which claim to know the social needs before having listened to the civil society, the interests that weave within them, the convergence and the divergence of the expectations. The participation of the community in the formation of the strategies renders, vice versa, the transparency of the actions of the Institutions that work for the prevention. The perception of a concerned institutional busyness contributes to spread confidence and calm. In the participation of the community in the choices of the security, social alarm is reduced, it loses turbulence and presents itself in contained forms.
A sense of security returns to manifest itself: with the perception of the efficacy of a public response to crime, with the observation of a commitment by the governmental apparatuses, with the sight of Institutions that operate in contact with the needs of the people. Ergo, Institutions with a human face.