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Editor: Alan Block
Allan Block: Introduction
Gary T. Marx: Commentary
Richard Leo: From coercion to deception: The changing nature of police interrogation in America
Gilbert Geis and Colin Groff: Lifting the cover from undercover operations: J. Edgar Hoover and some of the other criminologists
Alan A. Block: IRS intelligence operations under the Alexander regime: A commentary on Undercover Operations
Jean-Paul Brodeur: Undercover policing in Canada: Wanting what is wrong
Julius Wachtel: From morals to practice: Dilemmas of control in undercover policing
David Lyon: The new surveillance: Electronic technologies and the maximum security society
Mathieu Deflem: The invisibilities of social control: Uncovering Gary Marx's discovery of undercover
Gary T. Marx: Some
reflections on Undercover. Recent developments and enduring issues
In T. Blomberg and S. Cohen, Punishment and Social Control: Essays
in Honor of Sheldon Messigner, 1995 Aldyne de Gruyter3/4 expansion
of article in Crime, Law and Social Change, vol. 18, nos. 1-2, Sept.
By Alan Block
Every so often academic books appear that help to shape or define the sensibilities and concerns of an age and that serve as powerful beacons for those that follow. The books on American character in the 1950s, on problems of poverty and race in the 1960s, and on feminism and the environment in the 1970s are examples. Their impact is partly based on offering new ideas and data. But it is also on their ability to deal systematically and clearly with themes and issues that are in the air. They give shape to concerns that were felt and seen, but not well articulated, as well as introducing new concerns. They stimulate and direct research and offer new vocabularies and ways of thinking about familiar phenomena.
The recognition that Gary T. Marx' Undercover: Police Surveillance in America has received from peers, practitioners and the mass media suggests that it may become one such book. The book received a number of prizes, has been widely reviewed in academic and popular media, has been the basis for television and radio documentaries and has stimulated considerable research. A full translation or excerpts have appeared in many languages, including Chinese and Japanese. The book has struck a responsive chord in disparate audiences from social scientists to philosophers and from civil libertarians to law enforcement agents.
I had originally planned a review-symposium on the book. But as the number of potential contributors expanded, it became clear that there was the potential to go beyond a review of this book per se to a broader forum for considering the questions it raises. The normative, scientific, and practical issues around surveillance, soft- and low-visibility control, information access and restriction, deception, and privacy and technology transcend any one discipline, profession or country. These social control themes are universal in the information age and can only increase in importance as we approach the next century. It is vital that scholarly attention illuminate them.
Recent Developments in Undercover Policing
In T. Blomberg and S. Cohen, Punishment and Social Control: Essays in Honor of Sheldon Messigner, 1995 Aldyne de Gruyter3/4 expansion of article in Crime, Law and Social Change, vol. 18, nos. 1-2, Sept. 1992
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