Governing the Crime-Development Nexus: A Historical Perspective

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This chapter traces the history of global crime governance from the final decades of the nineteenth century to today, with particular attention paid to the United Nations and its crime programme after World War II. It highlights significant changes to the structure and mandate of the UN crime programme over the last 70 years and how UN agencies have helped shape the international crime policy agenda and its focus on development. The chapter then illustrates how vestiges of prevailing beliefs about development and crime and the global political economy that gave rise to them continue to influence the work of the UN system and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) today. In this regard, our analysis highlights some institutional and structural challenges inherent to containing the ‘dark side of globalisation’ together with the ways in which the UN's efforts to do so privilege the interests and understandings of Northern countries. We conclude that these power asymmetries represent an obstacle to the UN's custodianship of criminological targets that feature in the SDGs, but stop short of suggesting that the governance of the crime–development nexus should be viewed as a coherent, neo-colonial project given the institutional weaknesses within the UN system, the ‘Rise of the South’ and the potential for civil society to contest its priorities and agendas.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Emerald Handbook of Crime, Justice and Sustainable Development
EditorsJarrett Blaustein, Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Nathan W. Pino, Rob White
Place of PublicationBingley UK
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781787693555, 9781787693579
ISBN (Print)9781787693562
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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