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Speed Kills by Jeff Ferrell

Drug Wars, Crimes of the Automobile & A Cultural Criminology of Roadside Shrines

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Most readers know the first part of the answer: The war on drugs has from the first been fought not just against meth mules, but more so against the possibilities of open debate and open minds; it has been a war waged primarily in the realms of image and ideology. As in earlier wars on one drug or another (Becker 1963, pp. 135-146), political and media machines have operated in tandem to construct self-confirming moral panics around particular drugs and drug communities, to push the agendas of the powerful in the guise of public awareness, and " forge a public prepared to swallow the next junkie stereotype and to enlist in the next drug war" (Reinarman and Duskin 1999, p. 85). 

The answer's second part parallels the first, and reverses it: An ongoing automotive war on people and the environment has for decades been masked by the same machineries of media and politics that promote the contemporary war on drugs; carefully constructed universes of image and ideology minimize the dangers of the automobile in the same way that they inflate the dangers of drugs. Governmental transportation policy not only underwrites the economics of the automotive industry, offering up the infrastructure on which it continues to ride, but intertwines with an endless campaign of car commercials and automotive sponsorship that infiltrates everyday life to a degree the most eager of war-on-drugs campaigners can only envy. In this world, 40,000 deaths a year somehow serve not to create moral panic, but to deflate it.

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Jeff Ferrell. Culture, Crime, and Cultural Criminology. Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture, 3(2) (1995)

Jeff Ferrell. 9-11 and the Public Construction of Commemoration. Teaching & Understanding Sept 11. 

Ferrell and Sanders. Cultural Criminology (1995)

Ferrell and Hamm. Ethnography at the Edge

Jeff Ferrell, Tearing Down the Streets: Adventures in Urban Anarchy. Jeff's "Boredom, Crime and Criminology" (free full text .pdf) is based on his field research for this book.

Intro ] 1 ] 2 ] [ 3 ] 4 ] 5 ] End ]

This text is excerpted from an article of the same title in Critical Criminology: An International Journal, v 11 #3 (2002). The full article (.pdf) is freely available from the 'key papers' section of Cultural Readers can also access full text via SpringerLink. 

Critical Criminology is the official journal of the American Society of Criminology's Division on Critical Criminology. The official homepage of the Critical Criminology journal is at Springer.

Police quelled a second night of disturbances after rioters protesting the death of a motorcyclist during a police chase set at least five buildings and five cars on fire.

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