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Taking an activist approach, we will study environmental crime as a form of deviance in this course. Environmental crime, which includes a diverse range of phenomena including but not limited to white collar crime, is only now emerging as an important area of criminal justice. We will consider alternative definitions of the field from philosophical and legal perspectives. We will engage in theory building so that we may understand the processes currently blocking effective preventive and enforcement measures. At the same time, we will gain a sophisticated understanding of the substantive issues underlying the local, regional, national and global environmental news we hear in the mass media. The subject of environmental crime gives us an opportunity to examine the interaction of wrongful acts, theories of deviance, and mechanisms of social control. Using the Clifford text, we will frame the subject by reading about the history of the environmental movement in the U.S.; work our way through federal laws, policing, prosecution and sentencing procedures; and examine the ethics and the imagery of particular environmental crimes in international and transnational contexts (e.g. environmental crimes on the U.S.-Mexico border). Davis' book on the cultural politics of environmental legislation in the city of Los Angeles will provide an astute and contentious dimension to discussion.

 

Readings:

Mary Clifford, 1998. Environmental Crime: Enforcement, Policy, and Social Responsibility. Aspen.

Mike Davis, 1998. Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster. Metropolitan Books.

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