Crime, Sovereignty, and the State: On the Metaphysics of Global Disorder

This lecture explores the global preoccupation with criminality in the early twenty-first century, a preoccupation strikingly disproportionate, in most places and for most people, to the risks posed by lawlessness to the conduct of everyday life. Ours in an epoch in which law-making, law-breaking, and law-enforcement are ever more critical registers in which societies construct, contest, and confront truths about themselves. It argues that, as the result of a tectonic shift in the triangulation of capital, the state, and governance, the meanings attached to crime and, with it, the nature of policing, have undergone significant change; also, that there has been a palpable muddying of the lines between legality and illegality, between corruption and conventional business – even between crime-and-policing, which exist, nowadays, in ever greater, hyphenated complicity.