Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 October 2013
Introduction: the duality of social democracy
The main aim of this chapter is to account for and assess the dilemmas and difficulties a social democratic approach to crime and security faces in the context of the modern state. It examines the historical approach to these difficulties and identifies some of the new challenges to have emerged over the past thirty years or so. The chapter concludes by assessing the prospects of a new wave of social democratic policy on crime and security in the face of the combination of new and old challenges.
Historically the attitude of social democrats to crime and insecurity has displayed a tension that mirrors the deeper one within the social democratic project itself (Hattersley and Hickson 2011). Social democracy, put simply, has been historically located within the fluctuating terms of convergence and divergence between two narratives of modification of the classical socialist project – the modification of the classical means of socialist transformation and the modification of its classical ends. On the one hand, the social democratic narrative, while not ruling out a comprehensively egalitarian vision as an ultimate goal, has been concerned to map out an alternative parliamentary and constitutional pathway, one that rejects violent and extra-constitutional struggle and favours evolution over revolution. On the other hand, the social democratic narrative has also been about specifying and meeting realisable and self-standing objectives short of full social ownership.