Eric D. Widmer

Languin,N.,Widmer,E.,Kellerhals,J., Robert,C.-N. (2005).Des représentations sociales de la peine favorables à un nouvel art de sanctionner In: Parmentier S., Vervaeke G., Doutrelepont R., Kellens G. (Eds). Public Opinion and the Administration of Justice. Popular perceptions and their implications for policy-making in Western countries. Politeia Press, Bruxelles, pp. 91-109.

In the last decade, a " social preoccupation " for crime has emerged in numerous Western countries, following the spread of a feeling of personal insecurity, along with the perception of a great increase of crime rates and of risks of victimation, in large sections of their population. Switzerland has looked for a long time as a country spared by crime. Does this perception persist, while local media as well as those of neighbouring countries have seized the issue of insecurity ? In reconceptualizing the fear of crime as but one element of a wider system of representations referring to the intensity of perceived crime, its causes, actors and forms, this article shows, on the basis of a representative sample of the resident population of the French-speaking part of Switzerland, that four main representations of delinquency compete, which reveal the presence of fundamentally different attitudes toward modernity

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