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Alcohol Regulation, Historical Change and the Contemporaneity of the Non-Contemporaneous: A Non-Linear Story in Four Parts

This article uses the example of alcohol regulation in England and Wales to explore how historical change can be understood within criminology. Pivoting away from criminology’s tendency to understand historical change as occurring in rapid, radical bursts (usually followed by ...

Published onApr 27, 2023
Alcohol Regulation, Historical Change and the Contemporaneity of the Non-Contemporaneous: A Non-Linear Story in Four Parts
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Abstract

This article uses the example of alcohol regulation in England and Wales to explore how historical change can be understood within criminology. Pivoting away from criminology’s tendency to understand historical change as occurring in rapid, radical bursts (usually followed by periods of stability), it takes inspiration from the emerging use of historical institutionalist and Koselleckian approaches within historical criminology. Alcohol regulation in England and Wales is complex, overlapping and sometimes even contradictory. It is shown here that this regulatory messiness reflects the plurality of temporalities which, following Koselleck, animate alcohol regulation in the contemporary historical moment. It is further demonstrated that historical institutionalist concepts (e.g. near misses, transformation by accumulation, layering) can be used to help identify and analyse the non-contemporaneous origins and discrete lineages of these currently co-existing temporalities. The article thus provides a new and original account of the historical development and contemporary character of alcohol regulation in England and Wales. Moreover, its theoretical synthesis of Koselleckian and historical institutionalist ideas offers a promising theoretical framework which could be used more widely in criminological studies to examine the connections between historical change and crime or its control in contemporary societies.

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