Book review: The Preventive Turn in Criminal Law

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The Preventive Turn in Criminal Law
Henrique Carvalho, The Preventive Turn in Criminal Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017, pp. 207, ISBN 978-0-19-873785-8

In the words of its author, The Preventive Turn in Criminal Law ‘is not a legal book’ (Preface, p. x). Rather, it aims to present a phenomenology of law that captures how legal concepts and ideas are imagined and instantiated under particular sociopolitical conditions within, broadly speaking, liberal modernity. This approach distinguishes Carvalho’s work from much of the current literature geared towards explaining and critiquing ‘pre-inchoate’ and ‘inchoate’ offences. While many scholars undertaking these enterprises fall back on the familiar, and ostensibly limiting, principles of harm, autonomy, desert and so on, Carvalho instead shows how the liberal tradition on which these principles are based is premised on the same logic that underpins the preventive turn itself. In so doing, he shows that the capacity of liberal criminal law scholarship to challenge or restrain the proliferation of prophylactic crimes is inevitably compromised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-392
JournalSocial and Legal Studies
Issue number3
Early online date5 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


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