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Access_open The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000: Proposals for Legislative Reform to Promote Equality through Schools and the Education System

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 3 2020
Trefwoorden Transformative pedagogy, equality legislation, promotion of equality, law reform, using law to change hearts and minds
Auteurs Anton Kok, Lwando Xaso, Annalize Steenekamp e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this article, we focus on how the education system can be used to promote equality in the context of changing people’s hearts and minds – values, morals and mindsets. The duties contained in the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000 (‘Equality Act’) bind private and public schools, educators, learners, governing bodies and the state. The Equality Act calls on the state and all persons to promote substantive equality, but the relevant sections in the Equality Act have not been given effect yet, and are therefore currently not enforceable. We set out how the duty to promote equality should be concretised in the Equality Act to inter alia use the education system to promote equality in schools; in other words, how should an enforceable duty to promote equality in schools be fashioned in terms of the Equality Act. Should the relevant sections relating to the promotion of equality come into effect in their current form, enforcement of the promotion of equality will take the form of obliging schools to draft action plans and submit these to the South African Human Rights Commission. We deem this approach inadequate and therefore propose certain amendments to the Equality Act to allow for a more sensible monitoring of schools’ duty to promote equality. We explain how the duty to promote equality should then play out practically in the classroom to facilitate a change in learners’ hearts and minds.


Anton Kok
Anton Kok is Professor of Jurisprudence at the Faculty of Law of the University of Pretoria.

Lwando Xaso
Lwando Xaso is an independent lawyer, writer and historian.

Annalize Steenekamp
Annalize Steenekamp, LLM, is a Multidisciplinary Human Rights graduate from the University of Pretoria.

Michelle Oelofse
Michelle Oelofse is an Academic associate and LLM candidate at the University of Pretoria.
Artikel

Access_open Macht, misdaad en exces

Enkele inleidende reflecties

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit, Aflevering 1 2020
Auteurs Dr. Bas van Stokkom en Dr. mr. Marc Schuilenburg
Auteursinformatie

Dr. Bas van Stokkom
Dr. Bas van Stokkom is senior onderzoeker bij de Vaksectie Strafrecht & Criminologie, Faculteit der Rechtsgeleerdheid, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen.

Dr. mr. Marc Schuilenburg
Dr. mr. Marc Schuilenburg is universitair docent Strafrecht en Criminologie aan de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Artikel

Top-down and out?

Reassessing the labelling approach in the light of corporate deviance

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit, Aflevering 2 2019
Trefwoorden labelling, corporate crime, moral entrepreneurs, peer group, late modernity
Auteurs Anna Merz M.A.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Multi-national corporations are increasingly facing attention and disapproval by different actors, including authorities, public and (non-) commercial organizations. Digital globalization and especially social media as a low-cost, highly interactive and multidirectional platform shape a unique context for this rising attention. In the literature, much attention has been devoted to top-down approaches and strategies that corporations use to avoid stigmatization and sanctioning of their behaviour. Reactions to corporate harm are, however, seldom researched from a labelling perspective. As a result, corporations are not considered as objects towards whom labelling is targeted but rather as actors who hamper such processes and who, as moral entrepreneurs, influence which behaviour is labelled deviant. Based on theoretical analysis of literature and case studies, this article will discuss how the process of labelling has changed in light of the digitalized, late-modern society and consequently, how the process should be revisited to be applicable for corporate deviance. Given a diversification of moral entrepreneurs and increasingly dependency of labelling and meaning-making on the online sphere, two new forms of labelling are introduced that specifically target institutions; that is bottom-up and horizontal labelling.


Anna Merz M.A.
Anna Merz is promovendus aan de Sectie Criminologie van de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open The Court of the Astana International Financial Center in the Wake of Its Predecessors

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 1 2019
Trefwoorden international financial centers, offshore courts, international business courts, Kazakhstan
Auteurs Nicolás Zambrana-Tévar
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The Court of the Astana International Financial Center is a new dispute resolution initiative meant to attract investors in much the same way as it has been done in the case of the courts and arbitration mechanisms of similar financial centers in the Persian Gulf. This paper examines such initiatives from a comparative perspective, focusing on their Private International Law aspects such as jurisdiction, applicable law and recognition and enforcement of judgments and arbitration awards. The paper concludes that their success, especially in the case of the younger courts, will depend on the ability to build harmonious relationships with the domestic courts of each host country.


Nicolás Zambrana-Tévar
LLM (LSE), PhD (Navarra), KIMEP University.
Artikel

Access_open The Normative Framework of Labour Law

Tijdschrift Law and Method, september 2019
Trefwoorden labour law, normative framework, inequality, social justice
Auteurs Nuna Zekić
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article looks at how normative questions, i.e. ‘what should the law be?‘, are approached in modern labour law scholarship. A distinction is made between internal and external normative frameworks for analysis, whereby internal frameworks are made up of principles, values or standards that are part of the law and the external frameworks are made up of theories outside of law. As a functional legal field, labour law can also benefit to a great deal from empirical research. However, the article argues that empirical facts by themselves have a limited normative value and that we need a normative framework in order to answer normative and evaluative questions. Therefore, the aim of the article is to review, clarify and evaluate the internal normative framework of labour law.


Nuna Zekić
Associate Professor, Department of Labour Law and Social Policy, Tilburg University.
Artikel

Een held valt niet – morele dilemma’s als een gevierde insider in de fout gaat

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit, Aflevering 2 2018
Trefwoorden hero, moral entrepreneur, Bill Cosby, Jimmy Savile, Gerrit Achterberg
Auteurs Dr. Frank van Gemert en Danaé Stad MSc
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Bill Cosby, Jimmy Savile and Gerrit Achterberg lived in different periods, in the US, UK, and the Netherlands. They were heroes because of what they accomplished during their professional careers but all three turned out to have committed serious crimes. Disclosure is painful, not only for the hero who comes to fall but also for the community that finds itself redefining moral standards when losing a celebrated insider. For this reason, the crimes of these three men have been concealed and kept secret for years. In comparing the three cases, this article tries to find out who decides on keeping the hero on his feet, how this is done, and if this changes over time.


Dr. Frank van Gemert
Dr. Frank van Gemert is universitair docent bij de sectie strafrecht en criminologie van de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Danaé Stad MSc
Danaé Stad MSc studeerde criminologie aan de VU en is werkzaam bij het Regionaal Informatie en Expertise Centrum Amsterdam-Amstelland (RIEC-AA).
Artikel

De mooie held geveld

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit, Aflevering 2 2018
Trefwoorden heroes, downfall, master status, media
Auteurs Prof. dr. Hans Nelen en Dr. Frank van Gemert
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In the introductory article of this special issue on the downfall of popular heroes, some relevant aspects in relation to the general theme are explored. Who are considered to be heroes and which elements are relevant to understand the process heroes may go through when they start sliding on the slippery slope, and, eventually, fall into the abyss of disgrace? What is the role that (social) media play in the demolition of their reputation and how do heroes perceive their own downfall and respond to it? The theoretical concept that is used in this article is Howard Becker’s master status and, in particular, the notion that the master status of a fallen hero surpasses and contaminates all other statuses, previously possessed by an individual.


Prof. dr. Hans Nelen
Prof. dr. Hans Nelen is hoogleraar criminologie aan de Universiteit Maastricht.

Dr. Frank van Gemert
Dr. Frank van Gemert is universitair docent bij de sectie strafrecht en criminologie van de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Artikel

Wel of geen identiteitscontrole? Het dilemma van de ‘rule enforcer’

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit, Aflevering 3 2018
Trefwoorden Identity control, Police, Rule enforcer, Selectivity, Discretionary space
Auteurs Dra Inès Saudelli
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    It is common knowledge that the police in executing its duty as “rule enforcer” disposes of certain discretionary powers. Because of the heavy workload and the often ambiguous legislation, the police officer needs to decide on a selective basis when, how and towards whom he/she will act. These discretionary powers are present in proactive identity controls and already provoked strong reactions in the past. The media accused the police of over-controlling certain minority groups. With this ethnographic study into the Belgian practice of identity controls, in which we observe and interview police officers, we wish to get a better view of the way in which identity controls are executed. Although the research is still ongoing, we have already been able to establish that the decision-making process is based on a police feeling which police officers claim to have and which is formed by (a combination of) different triggers attracting their attention.


Dra Inès Saudelli
Inès Saudelli Onderzoeker criminologie, Vrije Universiteit Brussel ines.saudelli@vub.ac.be
Artikel

Moral entrepreneurs in de 21ste eeuw

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit, Aflevering 3 2018
Trefwoorden Moral entrepreneurs, Becker, Discourse, Crusading reformer, Symbolic interactionism
Auteurs Dr. Olga Petintseva en Prof. Tom Decorte
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In the introductory article of this special issue on ‘moral entrepreneurs’ in the 21st century, we situate different notions of moral entrepreneurship. Particularly foregrounding Howard Becker’s definition, we discuss its origins and use in subsequent research. The question that we’ve put forward in the ‘call for papers’ for this special issue is to what extent the notion is relevant in contemporary research and who is considered as ‘moral entrepreneur’. The research papers discuss ‘entrepreneurial’ practices of university ethic commissions, medical professionals, police officers and the leaders of cannabis social clubs. We conclude that the underlying rationales and discourses of moral entrepreneurs that the authors identify, reflect contemporary neoliberal ideals.


Dr. Olga Petintseva
Olga Petintseva Postdoctorale onderzoeker FWO Vlaanderen, Universiteit Gent – Vrije Universiteit Brussel olga.petintseva@ugent.be

Prof. Tom Decorte
Tom Decorte Professor criminologie, Universiteit Gent tom.decorte@ugent.be
Artikel

Artsen en moreel ondernemerschap. De casus van de normalisering van verslavende opioïde pijnstillers in de Verenigde Staten

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit, Aflevering 3 2018
Trefwoorden Opioid crisis, Addictive painkillers, Medical doctors, Moral entrepreneurs, Big Pharma
Auteurs Dr. Thaddeus Müller
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this article, I am using Becker’s concept of moral entrepreneur to analyse the role of pain specialists in the labelling process, which has led to the normalisation of the use of opioid painkillers in the United States and ultimately to the death over 200.000 Americans. In general, the literature on labelling centres on crusading reformers, and the criminalisation and stigmatisation of transgressive behaviour. Here I will focus on the moral entrepreneurship of medical experts. What was their role in the normalisation process of opioid painkiller use and are there any similarities with the strategies of crusading reformers? My findings, based on qualitative analysis of documents such as newspaper articles and academic publications, show that, with two exceptions, pain specialists use the strategies of moral crusaders. First, in their narratives, pain specialists represented themselves as neutral objective experts without the emotional stance of moral crusaders. The second exception, which is related to the first, is that there was less emphasis in their narrative on creating villains, as they could not blame openly standard medical practice because they needed the support of the established medical world in order to normalise and legalise opioid painkillers.


Dr. Thaddeus Müller
Thaddeus Müller Docent criminologie, Lancaster University t.muller@lancaster.ac.uk
Artikel

Een wolf onder de wolven. Ethiek en Ethische Commissies in criminologisch onderzoek naar ‘the powerful’

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit, Aflevering 3 2018
Trefwoorden Ethics committees, The powerful, Moral entrepreneurs, Ethics creep, Arms trader
Auteurs Dr. Rita Faria en Dr. Yarin Eski
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    For quite some years now, crimes of ‘the powerful’ have been studied by criminologists. While researching crimes of ‘the powerful’, researchers aim to maintain and safeguard their integrity and ethics. However, there seems to be a friction between, on the one hand, ethics of the researchers themselves and on the other hand, ethics (policies) of universities. Obviously, not only do they have to justify their actions and decisions to themselves and ‘science’ as a whole, they must justify their research to ethics committees (EC’s) of universities. It could result in complex and difficult situations when researchers suspect that EC’s themselves may be instruments and products of the powerful groups they are studying. In that case, EC’s might undermine ethics and research integrity themselves. What do certain EC- ‘conditions’ look like for research ethics and to which extent do they have to be adjusted or reconsidered when criminologists are researching ‘the powerful’? The key question that will be answered in this contribution is as follows: how can criminologist (re)act ethically responsibly when confronted with (un)ethical committees? To answer this and other relevant questions, after reviewing literature, we reflect on a biographical study of a legal arms trader. We then elaborate on the ‘ethics creep’ (Haggerty, 2004) that seems to haunt social sciences nowadays.


Dr. Rita Faria
Rita Faria Docent criminologie, University of Porto rfaria@direito.up.pt

Dr. Yarin Eski
Yarin Eski Docent criminologie, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam y.eski@vu.nl
Article

Access_open ‘A Continuous Process of Becoming’: The Relevance of Qualitative Research into the Storylines of Law

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 2 2018
Trefwoorden storylines of law, qualitative research, law in action, law in books
Auteurs Danielle Antoinette Marguerite Chevalier
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The maxim ‘law in books and law in action’ relays an implicit dichotomy, and though the constitutive nature of law is nowadays commonly professed, the reflex remains to use law in books as an autonomous starting point. Law however, it is argued in this article, has a storyline that commences before its institutional formalisation. Law as ‘a continuous process of becoming’ encompasses both law in books and law in action, and law in action encompasses timelines both before and after the formal coming about of law. To fully understand law, it is necessary to understand the entire storyline of law. Qualitative studies in law and society are well equipped to offer valuable insights on the facets of law outside the books. The insights are not additional to doctrinal understanding, but part and parcel of it. To illustrate this, an ethnographic case study of local bylaws regulating an ethnically diverse public space of everyday life is expanded upon. The case study is used to demonstrate the insights qualitative data yields with regard to the dynamics in which law comes about, and how these dynamics continue for law in action after law has made the books. This particular case study moreover exemplifies how law is one of many truths in the context in which it operates, and how formalised law is reflective of the power constellations that have brought it forth.


Danielle Antoinette Marguerite Chevalier
Dr. mr. Danielle Antoinette Marguerite Chevalier, PhD, is assistant professor at Leiden University, The Netherlands.
Artikel

Daders van arbeidsuitbuiting

Over de vermeende rol van de georganiseerde misdaad

Tijdschrift PROCES, Aflevering 2 2018
Trefwoorden Arbeidsuitbuiting, Mensenhandel, georganiseerde criminaliteit, grensoverschrijdende criminaliteit
Auteurs Dr. Masja van Meeteren en Prof. dr. Joanne van der Leun
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Human traffickers are usually depicted in public discourse as evil villains: the crème de la crème of organized crime. Although this image has also been dominant among scholars for a long time, it has become increasingly controversial. On the one hand, this debate is fueled by discussions amongst criminologists on criminal networks, on the other hand by the expansion of the legal definition of the crime since 2005. Apart from exploitation in the prostitution sector, various other forms of human trafficking are distinguished now, including labor exploitation. This article explores the question of which organizational forms play a role in labor exploitation. Through a review of the empirical research literature on labor exploitation, the authors show that in the field of labor exploitation, there is probably less involvement in criminal syndicates or criminal networks that maintain contacts with other criminal networks. In many cases, labor exploitation is committed by individuals or family businesses, or smaller loosely organized networks that are not necessarily embedded in other criminal networks. For researchers and policy makers alike, it is therefore advisable not to approach labor exploitation exclusively from the perspective of transnational organized crime.


Dr. Masja van Meeteren
Dr. Masja van Meeteren is universitair hoofddocent Criminologie aan de Universiteit Leiden.

Prof. dr. Joanne van der Leun
Prof. dr. Joanne van der Leun is hoogleraar Criminologie aan de Universiteit Leiden.
Artikel

Access_open Theoretische vernieuwing in de criminologie

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit, Aflevering 1 2018
Trefwoorden Theoretical innovation, Scientific revolutions, Power-knowledge complex, Sensitising theory, Integrative theory
Auteurs Prof. dr. René van Swaaningen en Dr. mr. Marc Schuilenburg
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article starts off with an exposé of what ‘theoretical innovation’ means in the social sciences. The development of criminology is considered to be a result of (1) historical and cultural developments, (2) political-economic developments, (3) developments in other academic disciplines and (4) reactions to or specifications of other theoretical perspectives in criminology itself. Paradigm shifts in criminology are characterised by an individualistic and positivist aetiological turn in its early days; a sociological turn towards a ‘criminology of the lawmaker’ from the late 1950s on; and a return to positivism in the neoliberal and neoconservative turn of the 1990s. The new century ushers in a new epistemological break in criminology, in which globalisation, global warming, migration, human rights and the implications of cyberspace ‘force’ criminologists to overcome their anthropocentric and colonial character biases.


Prof. dr. René van Swaaningen
Prof. dr. René van Swaaningen is hoogleraar criminologie en voorzitter van de sectie criminologie van de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam. E-mail: vanswaaningen@law.eur.nl.

Dr. mr. Marc Schuilenburg
Dr. mr. Marc Schuilenburg is universitair docent Strafrecht en Criminologie aan de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. E-mail: m.b.schuilenburg@vu.nl.
Artikel

Kartels ontsluierd: heimelijkheid, vertrouwen en sociale inbedding

Hoe kartels erin slagen verborgen te blijven

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift voor Criminologie, Aflevering 3 2017
Trefwoorden social embeddedness of crime, corporate crime, white-collar crime, illegal networks, business cartels
Auteurs Jelle David Jaspers MSc
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this article notions from literature on covert and illegal networks are applied to business cartels. Comparable to most criminal networks, cartel participants need to communicate in order to coordinate their activities, whilst under the risk of getting caught. Previous studies however show cartels can remain hidden from outsiders for long periods of time. Based on an analysis of fourteen Dutch cartel cases, this article addresses the question how cartels can remain hidden from outsiders for long periods of time. The analysis shows cartel participants communicate predominantly centralized and frequent. Moreover, the results show that not concealment but social embeddedness provides a strong explanation for the longevity of secrecy regarding cartels.


Jelle David Jaspers MSc
J.D. Jaspers, MSc is promovendus bij de Erasmus School of Law van de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open The Integrity of the Tax System after BEPS: A Shared Responsibility

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 1 2017
Trefwoorden flawed legislation, tax privileges, tax planning, corporate social responsibility, tax professionals
Auteurs Hans Gribnau
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The international tax system is the result of the interaction of different actors who share the responsibility for its integrity. States and multinational corporations both enjoy to a certain extent freedom of choice with regard to their tax behaviour – which entails moral responsibility. Making, interpreting and using tax rules therefore is inevitably a matter of exercising responsibility. Both should abstain from viewing tax laws as a bunch of technical rules to be used as a tool without any intrinsic moral or legal value. States bear primary responsibility for the integrity of the international tax system. They should become more reticent in their use of tax as regulatory instrument – competing with one another for multinationals’ investment. They should also act more responsibly by cooperating to make better rules to prevent aggressive tax planning, which entails a shift in tax payments from very expert taxpayers to other taxpayers. Here, the distributive justice of the tax system and a level playing field should be guaranteed. Multinationals should abstain from putting pressure on states and lobbying for favourable tax rules that disproportionally affect other taxpayers – SMEs and individual taxpayers alike. Multinationals and their tax advisers should avoid irresponsible conduct by not aiming to pay a minimalist amount of (corporate income) taxes – merely staying within the boundaries of the letter of the law. Especially CSR-corporations should assume the responsibility for the integrity of the tax system.


Hans Gribnau
Professor of Tax Law, Fiscal Institute and the Center for Company Law, Tilburg University; Professor of Tax Law, Leiden University, The Netherlands.
Artikel

‘Troostmeisjes’: Over de structurele ontkenning van seksuele slavernij en voortschrijdende victimisatie

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit, Aflevering 2 2017
Trefwoorden comfort women, denial, sexual slavery, discourse analysis
Auteurs dr. mr. Roland Moerland
Samenvatting

    In 2015, South-Korea and Japan came to a ‘final’ agreement concerning the ‘comfort women’ issue. This contribution reveals that this deal signals the next stage in a process of denial through which Japanese authorities have structurally denied the women’s’ victimhood. Taking a discourse analytical approach, the contribution investigates this historical process of denial and its implications. The analysis shows that denial takes several forms and performs different functions throughout the process. It demonstrates that denial is an interactional phenomenon, has different psychologies underlying it, and that it operates on different levels. Denial ultimately contributes to a state of continued victimization.


dr. mr. Roland Moerland
Artikel

Het subversieve Brabant

Tijdschrift Justitiële verkenningen, Aflevering 2 2017
Trefwoorden Dutch province of North Brabant, regional history, subversive culture, crime, drugs production
Auteurs Dr. P. Klerks
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Various forms of organized crime are concentrated in the Dutch province of North Brabant, bordering Belgium. In this essay it is argued that specific historic, geographic, social economic, cultural and social psychological factors created an enduring window of opportunity in which criminality can flourish. Brabant is portrayed as a marginalized province that suffered from war, exploitation by the central government, rural gangs, a lack of law enforcement, extreme poverty as well as from discrimination because of its mainly catholic population. Against this background the population developed a mentality of solving problems on their own. Their survival strategies implied not only legal activities like agriculture and small-scale production in private houses, workplaces and factories, but also smuggling and illegal alcohol production. In more recent times the production of synthetic drugs, growing cannabis and transport criminality became widespread.


Dr. P. Klerks
Dr. Peter Klerks is werkzaam bij het Parket-Generaal van het Openbaar Ministerie en de Politieacademie.
Article

Access_open Raising Barriers to ‘Outlaw Motorcycle Gang-Related Events’

Underlining the Difference between Pre-Emption and Prevention

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 3 2016
Trefwoorden Prevention, pre-crime, pre-emption, risk, outlaw motorcycle gangs
Auteurs Teun van Ruitenburg
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Fighting outlaw motorcycle gangs is currently one of the top priorities of many governments around the world. This is due to the notion that outlaw motorcycle gangs do not consist solely of motorcycle enthusiasts. Numerous cases reveal that these clubs, or at least their members, are involved in (organised) crime. In order to tackle these clubs, the former Dutch Minister of Security and Justice announced a whole-of-government strategy towards outlaw motorcycle gangs in 2012. As part of this effort, authorities such as the Dutch National Police, the Public Prosecution Service, the Dutch Tax Authority and local governments aim to cooperate in order to disrupt and restrict outlaw motorcycle gangs by means of Criminal, Administrative and Civil Law. Part of this strategy is to hinder club-related events. This article discusses the latter strategy in light of the distinction between prevention and pre-emption. As the latter two concepts are often used interchangeably, this article attempts to use a more strict division between prevention and pre-emption. Thereby, it becomes apparent that outlaw motorcycle gangs are to some extent governed through uncertainty. The author suggests that maintaining the ‘prevention–pre-emption distinction’ can offer an interesting and valuable point of departure for analysing today’s crime policies.


Teun van Ruitenburg
Teun van Ruitenburg, MSc., is PhD Candidate at the Criminology Department of the Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Artikel

The precaution controversy: an analysis through the lens of Ulrich Beck and Michel Foucault

Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid, Aflevering 3 2016
Trefwoorden Precautionary principle, risk society, governmentality, risk governance, environmental law
Auteurs Tobias Arnoldussen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    According to the precautionary principle lack of scientific evidence for the existence of a certain (environmental) risk should not be a reason not to take preventative policy measures. The precautionary principle had a stormy career in International environmental law and made its mark on many treaties, including the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). However it remains controversial. Proponents see it as the necessary legal curb to keep the dangerous tendencies of industrial production and technology in check. Opponents regard it with suspicion. They fear it will lead to a decrease in freedom and fear the powers to intervene that it grants the state. In this article the principle is reviewed from the perspectives of Ulrich Beck’s ‘reflexive modernisation’ and Michel Foucault’s notion of governmentality. It is argued that from Beck’s perspective the precautionary principle is the result of a learning process in which mankind gradually comes to adopt a reflexive attitude to the risks modernity has given rise to. It represents the wish to devise more inclusive and democratic policies on risks and environmental hazards. From the perspective of Michel Foucault however, the principle is part and parcel of neo-liberal tendencies of responsibilisation. Risk management and prudency are devolved to the public in an attempt to minimise risk taking, while at the same time optimising production. Moreover, it grants legitimacy to state intervention if the public does not live up to the responsibilities foisted on it. Both perspectives are at odds, but represent different sides of the same coin and might learn from each other concerns.


Tobias Arnoldussen
Tobias Arnoldussen is a socio-legal scholar affiliated with the University of Amsterdam Law School and the PPLE honours college. Next to lecturing on a variety of subjects, he focusses on interdisciplinary legal research into the possibilities of law to deal with contemporary social problems.
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