• The Dark Side of Prosperity: Late Capitalism’s Culture of Indebtedness

      Horsley, Mark; University of Chester (Ashgate, 2015-03-02)
      This book offers a critical analysis of consumer credit markets and the growth of outstanding debt, presenting in-depth interview material to explore the phenomenon of mass indebtedness through the life trajectories of self-identified debtors struggling with the pressures of owing money.
    • The ‘Death of Deviance’ and the Stagnation of Twentieth Century Criminology

      Horsley, Mark; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014-10-22)
      In 1994 the British criminologist Colin Sumner published a lengthy obituary for the ‘sociology of deviance’. He claimed that the normative study of ‘crime’ as that which transgressed social values and norms was all but dead, replaced by a more useful and politically aware form of criminological theory. This new direction, he suggested, would benefit from conceptualising ‘crime’ as a form of social censure resulting from social reactions, power imbalances and manipulated public fears. This censure ultimately gives rise to certain acts being defined as ‘criminal’ and punished by formal and informal measures. In this chapter we consider this type of classic ‘social reaction’ theory in the light of Steve Hall’s (2012) assertion that late-twentieth century criminology has been captured, repurposed and impoverished by left and right variants of an underlying libertarian narrative. This has left us struggling to identify and explain persistent forms of criminality appearing throughout the social structure. Since the turn of the millennium, however, there have been significant moves in criminological theory and research back towards criminal motivations, the relationship between criminality and late capitalist culture and the social impact of the more harmful criminal activities. With these new moves in mind this chapter will explore the possibility that the ‘sociology of deviance’ might not be quite as moribund as Sumner’s obituary suggests.
    • Forget ‘Moral Panics’

      Horsley, Mark; Teeside University (David Polizzi, 2017-08-13)
      In the spirit of Jean Baudrillard’s Forget Foucault this article offers a step-by-step critique of the ‘moral panic’ concept. It begins with a short review of Cohen’s original thesis and its gradual evolution before addressing its remarkable popularity and its ascent to the stature of a domain assumption. The rest of the article uses and extends the existing critique of moral panic theory before arriving at the conclusion that, rather than undergo another period of adaptation, the entire conceptual repertoire of ‘moral panics’ should be ditched to make way for much-needed innovation.
    • The maintenance of orderly disorder: Modernity, markets and the pseudo-pacification process

      Horsley, Mark; Kotze, Justin; Hall, Steve; University of Chester; Teesside University (The European Society for History of Law; STS Science Centre Ltd., 2015-06-15)
      In contrast with the rather violent and unstable period between the collapse of the Roman Empire and the rise of Plantagenet monarchy, the earliest phase of England’s market economy coincided with a remarkable attenuation of brutal interpersonal violence. While, for some, this diminution of aggression is indicative of a ‘civilizing process’, this paper sets out to advance our theorization of the shift from physically violent to pacified socioeconomic competition in England and Western Europe between the late fourteenth century and the mid-twentieth century. In this pursuit we draw upon the more critical theory of the ‘pseudo-pacification process’ to explain how physical violence was sublimated and harnessed to drive the nascent market economy, which established and reproduced an economically productive condition of pseudo-pacified ‘orderly disorder’.
    • Mass Indebtedness and the Luxury of Payment Means

      Horsley, Mark; Lloyd, Anthony; University of Chester; University of Teesside (Routledge, 2020-01-08)
      Without the remarkable explosion of the credit industry since the early 1990s it’s almost inconceivable that late capitalism, in its neoliberal mode, could have maintained the vibrant and multifaceted consumer markets of the last few decades. Its capacity to create payment means by attaching contractual claims to prospective futures has allowed capitalism to transcend the decline of its material productivity, sustaining consumption against the upward concentration of wealth. In this chapter we consider both the source and the implications of that transcendence, tracing it from the rarefied confines of the financial industry into the lives of consumers to explore the implications of distributing payment means as a kind of ‘systemic luxury’ running counter to the material productivity of prevailing systems and processes.
    • Relativizing Universality: Sociological Reactions to Liberal Universalism

      Horsley, Mark; University of Chester (University of York, 2013-12-31)
      This paper offers an appraisal of the relationship between sociology and philosophy grounded in a critique of the former discipline’s failure to contend with the dominance of neoliberalism in the run up to the financial crisis. In the first instance, it considers the prevailing philosophical ethos after the end of the Cold War and what Francis Fukuyama (1992) called the ‘End of History’. It observes the emergence of an increasingly unchallenged political monad around the conjoined principles of liberal democracy and neoliberal economics and its ascendance to the status of socio-historical universality despite becoming increasingly problematic. The second half of the essay then carries this political-philosophical analysis into an exploration of contemporary sociology and its approach to the intellectual critique of dominant ideas and structures. It proposes that an emergent strain of philosophical relativism has inadvertently moved us away from some of the critical responsibilities of the traditional intellectual and eroded our capacity to offer practical alternatives to overwhelmingly neoliberal governance. The article ends on the hopeful note that a slight change in tack might push us toward reclaiming responsibilities and revitalising the debate on social transformation.
    • White Collar Crime

      Horsley, Mark; University of Chester (Routledge, 2014-03-28)
      A short introductory chapter on white collar crime aimed at an undergraduate readership