Three moments of comparison in criminal justice

David Nelken is Distinguished Professor of Legal Institutions and Social Change, Faculty of Political Science, University of Macerata and Distinguished Visiting Research Professor, Faculty of Law, Cardiff University. He is also one of the plenary speakers at our upcoming conference. Here, he speculates a little on what he thinks he may have to say…

My contribution is mainly supposed to be a comment on the papers being given at the conference. As I am currently working on what I call three ‘moments’ of comparison I will hopefully find some way of linking the papers to them!

The first of these  is the familiar one where social scientists (or others), try to find the factors or variables that explain differences in aspects of crime or criminal justice amongst nation states or other units of interest.

The second ‘moment’ is where legal actors or others make proposals or otherwise act on the basis of their perceptions of what they think is happening in criminal justice systems or organisations elsewhere.

The third is where comparison forms part of efforts by organisations or networks to impose general norms more widely and bring practice elsewhere into line with such standards.

I am interested in the way these three ‘moments‘ interact.

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