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    Hypercriminality : how criminal law and evidence construct hyperreal racialised legal subjects

    Corbett-Batson, Sarah Jane (2023) Hypercriminality : how criminal law and evidence construct hyperreal racialised legal subjects. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    This thesis draws upon Critical Race Theory, Judith Butler’s concepts of performativity, ungrievable lives and racial framing, and Jean Baudrillard’s theories of simulation, simulacra and hyperreality, to demonstrate how neoliberal criminal law and evidence construct hyperreal racialised legal subjects – ‘hypercriminals’. Performativity illuminates how identities are created by discourses that require constant repetition. Criminal law and evidence are constructed through performative processes of simulation embedded in colonial discourses, while appearing neutral. Racialised people are deemed ungrievable, disposable and dangerous. Under neoliberalism, performative legal discourses dehumanise racialised legal subjects in increasingly abstracted ways, such that they become hyperreal. These hyperreal simulations of criminality appear real, while the violence of colonialism and racial capitalism is rendered invisible. Simulacra of racialised criminality operate to close the contradiction between neoliberal discourses of colour-blindness and meritocracy, and racially disproportionate outcomes in the criminal legal system. In this way, these simulacra serve to justify the carceral state. Hyperreality naturalises colonial processes of racialised criminalisation, while deploying civilising mission discourses to sustain this apparent reality. The provisions considered include s.60 orders, hate crimes, Anti-social Behaviour Orders, Criminal Behaviour Orders, Knife Crime Prevention Orders, dangerousness and bad character. They illustrate how processes of simulation construct hypercriminals. These processes can be disrupted by contesting the ungrievability of the racialised poor and asserting that they are hypercriminals, not criminals. By theorising hypercriminality, this thesis focuses on the discursive aspects of resistance to neoliberal criminal law and to carceral solutions. In doing so, it represents a timely contribution to critical legal literature in order to advance the urgent project of decarceration, abolition and transformative justice.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2024 12:44
    Last Modified: 26 Jan 2024 13:03


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