The Social Contract & Criminal Justice

News & SocietyPolitics

  • Author Claire Williams
  • Published January 31, 2012
  • Word count 493

The ‘Social Contract’ was first introduced around the 17th and 18th centuries by a group of thinkers including Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau. The underlying idea is the basic assumption that an individual will agree to give up some of their freedom in return for their freedom to not be imposed upon by others. It often falls to the state in order to police the line between different individual’s freedoms.

Due to the ongoing malfunctions of the global economy we have seen a rise in the number of protest groups across the world. These protests have range from outright industrial strikes that pull individuals together to march against supposed wrongs, to the disparate Occupy movements that have been seen across the world, to the so called ‘Arab Spring’ where revolutions have occurred across the Middle East and North Africa.

In order to contain these protests, enforcement teams have been employed to confront supposed activists who have sought to cause damage to property and individuals. It is at this point where we have to ask at what point does a protest become a dangerous situation?

The argument over the strength of the supposed resistance by police officers has come to the fore with incidents in the U.K. where protestors are often combatted by policing methods which including ‘kettling’. This is where protestors are contained in a small area, often forcibly, and not allowed to leave. Secondly, the recent images of a police officer using pepper-spray on students at a peaceful protest at a U.S. university were described as, "chilling" by the chancellor of the University of California. It is incidents such as these that are driving the current debate over whether the ‘Social Contract ‘is breaking down. Questions are being asked and society itself is now asking whether a new idea is needed to consider how to form a political community in the face of ongoing economical, political, and societal fractures.

There are a number of online schools which provide courses where students can study such activities. Indeed, by studying an online Criminal Justice degree, individuals will learn about law enforcement and, for example, how the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights apply to criminal law in that country.

There is a great range of online degrees catering for students of Criminal Justice from a range of online schools. Whether you are interested in studying a Bachelor of Criminal Justice or a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice the range of topics available enable the student to learn more about the ‘Social Contract’ within a framework that covers a variety of topics.

The average cost of a Criminal Justice degree can range from $12,000 a year to anything up to $25,000. If considering a career in Criminal Justice, it would be worth looking in to online schools which can generally provide online Criminal Justice degrees for a fraction of the cost of actually attending face-to-face lessons at another university.

C Williams is a freeland writer who has worked with a number of education companies and institutions. For more information on online degrees, please speak to your career advisor.

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