Robert Reiner

Robert Reiner

Email: r.reiner@lse.ac.uk
Administrative support: Rebecca Newman
Room: New Academic Building 6.02
Tel. 020-7955-7253 

ROBERT REINER is Emeritus Professor of Criminology in the Law Department. He was formerly Reader in Criminology at Bristol University and at Brunel University. He is author of The Blue-Coated Worker (Cambridge University Press 1978), Chief Constables (Oxford University Press 1991), Law and Order: An Honest Citizen’s Guide to Crime and Control (Polity Press 2007) and The Politics of the Police (4th Ed. Oxford University Press 2010); and editor of (with M.Cross) Beyond Law and Order (Macmillan 1991), (with S.Spencer) Accountable Policing (Institute for Public Policy Research 1993), Policing (Aldershot: Dartmouth 1996), (with M.Maguire and R.Morgan) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (Oxford University Press, now in its 5th edition, 2012) and Policing, Popular Culture and Political Economy : Towards a Social Democratic Criminology (Ashgate 2011). He has published over 100 papers on criminological topics in journals and books. He was President of the British Society of Criminology from 1993-6; Director of the LSE Mannheim Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice 1995-8; and convener of the Law Department 2001-4.

see also Robert Reiner's LSE Experts page

 

Research Interests

For most of my career my principal research interest has been the politics of policing, on which I have completed several empirical studies and continue to publish. Between 1994-8 I conducted (with Professor Sonia Livingstone and Dr Jessica Allen) an ESRC funded project analysing changing media representations of crime since World War II, which has resulted in several papers in recent years. In recent years I have been researching and writing on the political economy of crime and crime control. This is reflected in my 2007 Polity book 'Law and Order: An Honest Citizen's Guide to Crime and Control', and several essays. A selection of my papers with a new theoretical introduction is to be published later this year by Ashgate, under the title' Policing, Popular Culture and Political Economy: Towards A Social Democratic Criminology'.

 
External Activities
  • On editorial boards of: Policing and Society (was founding editor 1990-98); Crime, Media and Culture; Journal of Crime, Conflict and Media Culture; Journal of Policing.

  • On steering committees of Nuffield Foundation research projects Policing for London (1999-2002) and Plural Policing (2001-4)

  • General Editor of the Clarendon Criminology series, Oxford University Press

 
Books  

(M.Maguire, R.Morgan and) R.Reiner (eds.): The Oxford Handbook of Criminology 5th.ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, 1029 + xxiii pp

The most comprehensive and authoritative single volume text on the subject, the fourth edition of the acclaimed Oxford Handbook of Criminology combines masterly reviews of all the key topics with extensive references to aid further research. In addition to the history of the discipline and reviews of different theoretical perspectives, the book provides up-to-date reviews of diverse topics as the criminal justice process, race and gender, crime statistics, and the media and crime. The fourth edition has been substantially revised and updated and is essential reading for all teachers and students of criminology and an indispensable sourcebook for professionals.

Policing, Popular Culture and Political Economy : Towards a Social Democratic Criminology   (Ashgate 2011)

Robert Reiner has been one of the pioneers in the development of research on policing since the 1970s as well as a prolific writer on mass media and popular culture representations of crime and criminal justice. His work includes the renowned books The Politics of the Police and Law and Order: An Honest Citizen's Guide to Crime and Control, an analysis of the neo-liberal transformation of crime and criminal justice in recent decades. This volume brings together many of Reiner's most important essays on the police written over the last four decades as well as selected essays on mass media and on the neo-liberal transformation of crime and criminal justice. All the work included in this important volume is underpinned by a framework of analysis in terms of political economy and a commitment to the ethics and politics of social democracy.

The Politics of the Police 4th ed (Oxford University Press 2010)

Contents:

Part I: Theory and research
  1: Watching the watchers: theory and research in policing studies
Part II: History
  2: The birth of the blues: the establishment of professional policing in Britain 1829-1856
  3: Out of the blue: police legitimacy 1856-2009 - construction, deconstruction, reconstruction
Part III: Sociology of policing
  4: Cop cultures
  5: Demystifying the police: social research and police practice
  6: Mystifying the police: the media presentation of policing
Part IV: Law and politics
  7: Police powers and accountability
  8: Conclusion: beyond Life on Mars: a history of the future

Law and Order: An Honest Citizen’s Guide to Crime and Control (Cambridge: Polity Press 2007)

Law and Order - cover

Law and order has become a key issue throughout the world. Crime stories saturate the mass media and politicians shrilly compete with each other in a race to be the toughest on crime. Prisons are crammed to bursting point, and police powers and resources extended repeatedly. After decades of explosive increase in crime rates, these have plummeted throughout the Western world in the 1990s. Yet fear of crime and violence, and the security industries catering for these anxieties, grow relentlessly.

This book offers an up-to-date analysis of these contemporary trends by providing all honest and concerned citizens with a concise yet comprehensive survey of the sources of current problems and anxieties about crime. It shows that the dominant tough law and order approach to crime is based on fallacies about its nature, sources, and what works in terms of crime control. Instead it argues that the growth of crime has deep-seated causes, so that policing and penal policy at best can only temporarily hold a lid down on offending.

The book is intended to inform public debate about these vital issues through a critical deconstruction of prevailing orthodoxy. With its focus on current policies, problems and debates this book is also an excellent introduction to criminology for the growing numbers of students of the subject at all levels

click here for publisher's site

 
Selected articles
and chapters in books
 

'Who governs? Democracy, plutocracy, science and prophecy in policing' Criminology and Criminal Justice (2013) 13 pp.161-180

This article critically analyses two key debates about police and policing: the problematic definition of their role, and how they can be rendered democratically accountable. Both issues have been radically altered through the profound transformation of policing produced by the last three decades of neo-liberal hegemony. The article focuses on how this has developed in England and Wales, although there are parallels with other jurisdictions. The complex role of the police has been distilled down to criminal catching. Accountability has become accountancy, under the auspices of New Public Management. The current British Coalition government’s tendentious ‘austerity’ measures make these perennial problems especially acute. The Coalition purports to be democratizing police accountability through elected Police and Crime Commissioners. These claims are critically analysed in principle, but how they work out in practice is hard to prophesy. It is suggested they may play out in ways that frustrate their architects’ hopes, due to the continuing baleful consequences of neoliberalism.

'Policing and social democracy: resuscitating a lost perspective' Journal of Police Studies 2012/4 nr.25 pp.91-114

This paper analyses a sharp transformation in the problematic of police research that has occurred since the 1990s. The change is from a primary focus on sociology of the police to sociology for the police, from critical and theoretical concerns to providing practicable solutions to immediate policing problems. This is related to wider changes in the discipline of criminology, and beyond that to seismic shifts in the political economy and culture. These are the supplanting of an at least implicitly social democratic analysis of the ultimate sources and solutions of social problems including crime and disorder, to a neo-liberal one that highlights the politics of law and order. Whilst in the short run these appear to have worked as reflected in the fall in crime rates since the mid-1990s, the longer term issue is whether this has been symptom suppression, as a social democratic perspective suggests, rather than a stable basis for security which would require wider socio-economic justice.

'What's Left? The prospects for social democratic criminology' Crime, Media, Culture (2012) 8 (2) pp.135-150

This paper analyses the fate of social democratic sensibility in thinking about crime and criminal justice that prevailed for most of the 20th century, until a profound rupture in culture, political economy, crime and criminal justice. The paper proposes an ideal-type of social democratic criminology, and contrasts it with the law-and-order perspective that displaced it after the 1970s. The sources and consequences of this seismic shift are analysed and evaluated. Finally, following the fracturing of the last forty years’ neoliberal hegemony in the wake of the 2008 financial crash, it considers the prospects of a revival of the social democratic perspective in criminological thinking.

'Political Economy and Criminology: The Return of the Repressed’ in S.Hall and S.Winlow (eds.) New Directions in Criminological Theory London: Routledge pp. 30-51.

'What Causes Crime?’ in S.Khan (ed.) Punishment and Reform: How Our Criminal Justice System Can Cut Crime London: Fabian Society, 2011, pp. 86-94.

R.Reiner: ‘Return of the Nasty Party’ in A.Silvestri (ed.) Critical Reflections: Social and Criminal Justice in the First Year of Coalition Government London: Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, 2012, pp. 28-30

(C.Greer and) R.Reiner: ‘Mediated Mayhem: Media, Crime, Criminal Justice’ in (M.Maguire, R.Morgan and) R.Reiner (eds.): The Oxford Handbook of Criminology 5th.ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, pp. 245-78.

R.Reiner: ‘Casino Capital’s Crimes: Political Economy, Crime, and Criminal Justice’ in (M.Maguire, R.Morgan and) R.Reiner (eds.): The Oxford Handbook of Criminology 5th.ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, pp. 301-335.

(T.Newburn and) R.Reiner: ‘Policing and the Police’ in (M.Maguire, R.Morgan and) R.Reiner (eds.): The Oxford Handbook of Criminology 5th.ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, pp.806-837

In praise of fire brigade policing: Contra common sense conceptions of the police role London: Howard League 2012, 23 pp.

R.Reiner: ‘British Society of Criminology Outstanding Achievement Award 2011 Acceptance Speech’ British Society of Criminology Newsletter 69, London: British Society of Criminology 2011, pp.9-11

R.Reiner: ‘Foreword’ to Emma Bell: Criminal Justice and Neoliberalism London: Sage 2011 pp.vi-xi.

Review Symposium in Policing (2011) Vol.5 no.2 in response to The Politics of the Police 4th ed.

Andrew Goldsmith [review] 

Kevin D. Haggerty [review]  

Martin Innes [review]  

Robert Reiner - response [response]

‘New Theories of Policing: A Social Democratic Critique’ in T.Newburn, D.Downes and D.Hobbs (eds.) The Eternal Recurrence of Crime and Control: Essays for Paul Rock Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010 pp.141-82.

'Citizenship, Crime, Criminalization: Marshalling a Social Democratic Perspective' New Criminal Law Review Apr 2010, Vol. 13, No. 2: 241–261

This paper argues that criminalization, in the double sense of more perceived (and probably actual) crime and of the tough crime control policies brought by the politics of law and order, are consequences of the reversal some thirty years ago of the centuries-long progress toward universal incorporation into social, political, and civil citizenship. By contrast, the hundred years before that had witnessed the spread of social rights and greater inclusiveness, and experienced a benign coupling of lower crime and disorder with more consensual and welfare-oriented policing and penality. The necessary condition of restoring that more benign climate of greater security is a reversal of the neoliberalism that undermined social democracy. Since the 2007 credit crash, neoliberalism has been challenged increasingly, as practice and as ideology, yet it remains deeply embedded. The ideas and organization to restore social democracy have not been developed. Nonetheless it remains the precondition for security and humane criminal justice, as envisaged by T.H. Marshall's citizenship lectures fifty years ago.

‘Police Property’ in A.Wakefield and J.Fleming: The Sage Dictionary of Policing London: Sage, 2009, pp.230-231.

‘Police Property’ in A.Wakefield and J.Fleming: The Sage Dictionary of Policing London: Sage, 2009, pp.230-231.

‘Consent’ in A.Wakefield and J.Fleming: The Sage Dictionary of Policing London: Sage, 2009, pp.52-4.

‘Crime and the Media’ in P.Cane and J.Conaghan: The New Oxford Companion to Law Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008, pp.260-261.

‘Crime Rates’ in P.Cane and J.Conaghan: The New Oxford Companion to Law Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008, pp.267-8.

‘Dixon of Dock Green’ in T.Newburn and P.Neyroud: Dictionary of Policing Cullompton: Willan, 2008, p. 85.

‘Media and Policing’ in T.Newburn and P.Neyroud: Dictionary of Policing Cullompton: Willan, 2008, pp.161-2.

‘The Law and Order Trap’ Soundings: A Journal of Politics and Culture 40, December 2008, pp.123-134.

‘Success Or Statistics? New Labour and Crime Control’ Criminal Justice Matters 67, Spring 2007, pp.4-5, 37.

‘Political Economy, Crime and Criminal Justice’ in The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, Edited by M.Maguire, R.Morgan and R.Reiner. 4th Ed. Oxford University Press 2007 pp.341-380.

Oxford Handbook of Criminology - cover

The most comprehensive and authoritative single volume text on the subject, the fourth edition of the acclaimed Oxford Handbook of Criminology combines masterly reviews of all the key topics with extensive references to aid further research. In addition to the history of the discipline and reviews of different theoretical perspectives, the book provides up-to-date reviews of diverse topics as the criminal justice process, race and gender, crime statistics, and the media and crime. The fourth edition has been substantially revised and updated and is essential reading for all teachers and students of criminology and an indispensable sourcebook for professionals.

(With T.Newburn) ‘Policing and the Police’ in The Oxford Handbook of Criminology Edited by M.Maguire, R.Morgan and R.Reiner, 4th Ed. Oxford University Press 2007 pp.910-952.

Oxford Handbook of Criminology - cover

The most comprehensive and authoritative single volume text on the subject, the fourth edition of the acclaimed Oxford Handbook of Criminology combines masterly reviews of all the key topics with extensive references to aid further research. In addition to the history of the discipline and reviews of different theoretical perspectives, the book provides up-to-date reviews of diverse topics as the criminal justice process, race and gender, crime statistics, and the media and crime. The fourth edition has been substantially revised and updated and is essential reading for all teachers and students of criminology and an indispensable sourcebook for professionals.

‘Media Made Criminality’ in The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, Edited by M.Maguire, R.Morgan and R.Reiner, 4th Ed. Oxford University Press 2007 pp. 302-337

Oxford Handbook of Criminology - cover

The most comprehensive and authoritative single volume text on the subject, the fourth edition of the acclaimed Oxford Handbook of Criminology combines masterly reviews of all the key topics with extensive references to aid further research. In addition to the history of the discipline and reviews of different theoretical perspectives, the book provides up-to-date reviews of diverse topics as the criminal justice process, race and gender, crime statistics, and the media and crime. The fourth edition has been substantially revised and updated and is essential reading for all teachers and students of criminology and an indispensable sourcebook for professionals.

‘Criminology As A Vocation’ in Crime, Social Control and Human Rights Ed. By D.Downes, P.Rock, C.Chinkin and C.Gearty, Cullompton: Willan, 2007 pp.395-409.

Crime, Social Control - cover

The work of Stanley Cohen over four decades has come to acquire a classical status in the fields of criminology, sociology and human rights. His writing, research, teaching and practical engagement in these fields have been at once rigorously analytical and intellectually inspiring. It amounts to a unique contribution, immensely varied yet with several unifying themes, and it has made, and continues to make, a lasting impact around the world. His work thus has a protean character and scope which transcend time and place.

This book of essays in Stanley Cohen’s honour aims to build on and reflect some of his many-sided contributions. It contains chapters by some of the world’s leading thinkers as well as the rising generation of scholars and practitioners whose approach has been shaped in significant respects by his own

(With T.Newburn) ‘Police Research’ in Doing Research on Crime and Justice Edited by R. King and E. Wincup, 2nd Ed. Oxford University Press 2007

Doing Research on Crime and Justice - cover

This volume brings together research principles with the practical issues of carrying out research to provide a clear and fascinating guide to the reality of contemporary criminological research. The experience of leading experts is combined with first-hand accounts from new scholars, to provide a text that students can refer to throughout their criminological studies.

(With T.Newburn) ‘Crime and Penal Policy’ in Blair’s Britain, 1997-2007, Ed. By A. Seldon, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2008

Blair's Britain - cover

Tony Blair has dominated British political life for more than a decade. Like Margaret Thatcher before him, he has changed the terms of political debate and provoked as much condemnation as admiration. At the end of his era in power, this book presents a wide-ranging overview of the achievements and failures of the Blair governments. Bringing together Britain's most eminent academics and commentators on British politics and society, it examines the effect of the Prime Minister and his administration on the machinery of government, economic and social policy and foreign relations. Combining serious scholarship with clarity and accessibility, this book represents the authoritative verdict on the impact of the Blair years on British politics and society.

‘Media, Crime, Law and Order’ Scottish Journal of Criminal Justice Studies 12: July 2006 pp. 5-21.

‘Neo-liberalism, Crime and Criminal Justice’ Renewal 14/3 2006. Pp. 10-22.

‘Neo-philia or Back to Basics? Policing Research and the Seductions of Crime Control’ Policing and Society 17:1 2007 pp.89-101.

‘Law and Order: A 20:20 Vision’ Current Legal Problems 2006 Oxford University Press 2007 pp.129-60.

‘Success Or Statistics? New Labour and Crime Control’ Criminal Justice Matters 67, Spring 2007, pp.4-5, 37.

‘Beyond Risk: A Lament for Social Democratic Criminology’ in The Politics of Crime Control, Edited by T.Newburn and P.Rock. Oxford University Press 2006 pp. 7-49.

This book brings together ten leading British criminologists to explore the contemporary politics of crime and its control. The volume is produced in honour of Britain's most important criminological scholar - David Downes of the London School of Economics. The essays are grouped around the three major themes that run through David Downes' work - sociological theory, crime and deviance; comparative penal policy; and, the politics of crime. The third theme also provides the overarching unifying thread for the volume.

The contributions are broad ranging and cover such subjects as criminological theory and the new East End of London, the practice of comparative criminology including an analysis of variations in penal cultures within the United States, restorative justice in Colombia, New Labour's politics and policy in relation to dangerous personality-disordered offenders, the legal construction of torture, and the future for a social democratic criminology.

'From PC Dixon to Dixon PLC: Policing and Police Powers Since 1954’ (With T. Newburn) Criminal Law Review August 2004 pp. 601-18.

Examines the transformation in policing over the past 50 years, focusing on the pluralisation of policing in respect of the more complex relationship between the police and other policing mechanisms, and secondly shifts in the mandate and legitimacy of the police themselves. Explores: (1) the dialectics of policing history since 1954; (2) the changes in police powers since 1954, tracing the statutory extensions and in particular the significance and effects of the landmark Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and the accretion of powers through legislation at least ostensibly designed to deal with the policing of terrorism; (3) police governance since 1954 in terms of both the procedures for remedying misconduct by individual police officers, with the introduction of the Police Complaints Authority and later the Independent Police Complaints Commission, and the accountability of the overall organisation and its policies, outlining the restructuring and centralisation of police governance in the 1990s epitomised by the Police Act 1996; and (4) privatisation and pluralisation with the development of private, municipal and civilian guards, officers and wardens accompanied by the spread of technology, notably closed circuit television, and the policy shift towards privatisation from the mid 1980s and partnership under the Labour Government with the strengthening of the shifts in the management and provision of police services under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

‘Policing and the Media’. In Handbook of Policing, 2nd. ed. edited by T.Newburn. (Willan Publishing 2008)

This is one of the most ambitious books on policing ever written. It aims to provide a comprehensive but highly readable overview of policing in the UK, reflecting the transformations that have taken place in recent years and the increasing professionalisation of one of the country's most important services. It will be an essential text for anybody involved in the study of policing as a subject in its own right or as part of a broader criminal justice or criminology course, and a key source of reference for the police themselves -- it is by far the most comprehensive and authoritative book to have been written on the subject, combining the expertise of leading academic experts on policing and policing practitioners themselves. It will become an essential point of reference at a time of rapid change for the police, and constant debate about their role and function.

‘From Law and Order to Lynch Mobs: Crime News Since the Second World War’. (With S. Livingstone and J. Allen)  In Criminal Visions: Media Representations of Crime and Justice, Edited by P.Mason. Willan Publishing 2003 pp.13-32.

Criminal Visions - cover

Media representations of law and order are matters of keen public interest and have been the subject of intense debate amongst those with an interest in the media, crime and criminal justice.

Despite being an increasingly high profile subject few publications address this subject head on. This book aims to meet this need by bringing together an important range of papers from leading researchers in the field, addressing issues of fictional, factual and hybrid representations in the media -- the so called 'docu-dramas' and 'faction'.

'Crime and Control in Britain' Sociology 34:1 2000 pp. 71-94.

This paper explores the possible patterns of crime and control in the twenty-first century, drawing on an analysis of current and recent developments.These suggest a dystopian prospect of permanently high crime rates, and control strategies that reinforce social division and exclusion.Current ‘third way’ policies for crime reduction may achieve modest success, in part because they indirectly encourage agencies to manipulate statistically recorded outcomes to their advantage. They do not however tackle the underlying sources of crime in the political economy and culture of global capitalism, offering only actuarial analyses of risk variation, and pragmatic preventive interventions to reduce these. In the absence of any broader changes to the social patterns which generate high-crime societies the prospect is of marginal palliatives for crime,which themselves have the dysfunctional consequences of increasing segregation, distrust and anxiety.