Order and Security, Deviance and Crime in State Socialism

Order and Security, Deviance and Crime in State Socialism. Czechoslovakia and the GDR from 1948/49 to 1989

Bad Wiessee, November 2011

Deadline: 31 May 2011

Annual Conference of the Collegium Carolinum

The discussion of public order and security as well as of deviant behavior and crime is conducive to the analysis of societies of socialist states in several aspects: Views on morals and law-abidement in state and society can be discussed in this context as well as the differing limits of tolerance towards norm violations. Furthermore, indicators concerning the level of social stability can be gained. And finally, the question of the legitimacy of socialist rule can be posed from a perspective other than the political or social point of view. Because if, in socialist states, the violation of (not only socialist) norms and laws was interpreted as a “relic of bourgeois society”, the guarantee of public order and security appears to be an additional major promise for the future, complementing the guarantee of social security
and equality.

Based on the examples of Czechoslovakia and the GDR, the conference is on the one hand devoted to the question of state views, strategies and practices concerning the guarantee of public order (also of unwritten norms of behavior) and security (i.e. the protection of laws, the inviolability of citizens and their property). On the other hand, the measured and perceived social reality in the form of deviant behavior and criminal acts is of interest as well as the attitude within the population concerning order, security, police and also deviance and crime. Hereby, the focus is expressly not directed towards questions concerning secret police and political persecution or ideologically motivated opposition. Rather, the center of attention is placed on the discussion of perceived or actual “not politically” motivated violations of norms and laws as well as their penalization – even though the boundaries between common crimes and acts of crime which can be interpreted as political were vague and every-day-crimes were often considered by state institutions to be political acts and vice versa.

In this context the following 6 topic fields will be considered:

Order and Security:

  • 1. Socialist concepts of order and security e.g.: concepts of order and security and their transformations; the distinction between misdemeanor and contravention; setting rules and criminal law; comparison with democratically organized states
  • 2. Socialistic criminology and crime prevention e.g.: reciprocity between theory and praxis; anti-crime strategies and measures as well as their results; reciprocity between social and public security; comparison with the criminology of democratically organized states
  • 3. Police, judiciary and population e.g.: police work in socialist states; relations between police/judiciary and population; acceptance of police as an authority of order; police as an instrument of legitimacy; police and judiciary in films and literature (crime films and novels)

Deviance and Crime:

  • 4. Deviant behavior e.g.: norm violations by rockers, hippies, punks as well as other sub-cultures; “anti-social” behavior, alcohol and drug abuse as well as prostitution on the threshold between misdemeanor and criminal act; attitude of the population concerning deviant behavior
  • 5. Development of crime e.g.: the development of delinquency in the light of crime statistics; the role of crime statistics; youth delinquency; “public presence” of crime (e.g. coverage by the media)
  • 6. Punishment and (re-)education e.g.: correctional system; education by work (correctional institutions for youths); rehabilitation measures; social disciplining The presentations should not exceed 20 minutes and can be held in German or English. The publication of conference proceedings is intended.

Please submit a short abstract of your planned presentation (1-2 pages) in German, English or Czech until May 31, 2011 to:

Collegium Carolinum
z.Hd. PD Dr. Volker Zimmermann
Hochstr. 8
81669 München

Website: http://www.collegium-carolinum.de

Emilia Robin

Chercheuse associée à l'UMR SIRICE. Violons d'Ingres : guerre froide, médiation scientifique, logiciels libres

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