Critical Criminology

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 201–216 | Cite as

Just-in-Time Justice: Globalization and the Changing Character of Law, Order, and Power

  • Nancy A. WondersEmail author


This article examines how economic globalization has dialectically interacted with the nation-state and legal order to facilitate the production of “just-in-time justice”—the increasingly flexible character of law, order, and power. Utilizing Chambliss’s analytic strategy, particularly his dialectical approach to lawmaking, I first examine the relationship between the global social order, economic globalization, and the changing architecture of nation-states. I then explore ways that the legal order has been flexibilized, including the creation of “states of exception,” the privatization of social control functions of the state, the development of transnational spaces for governance, and the widespread use of surveillance. My analysis of these transformations suggests that the greatest danger in the contemporary moment may be what we do not know, what is hidden from public accountability, beyond the public gaze. Importantly, this analysis also highlights that law continues to matter—or else there would not be such a press to ensure its disappearance.


Legal Order Transnational Corporation Critical Criminologist Democratic Accountability Private Contractor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



In addition to his intellectual legacy, I offer a special note of appreciation to Bill Chambliss for his gifts of shared music-making, laughter, and friendship. I also wish to thank the Prato Collective, sponsored by Monash University, Australia, for creating the international intellectual space in which some of the ideas contained here were first conceived.


  1. Ackerman, A. R., & Furman, R. (2013). The criminalization of immigration and the privatization of immigrant detention: Implications for justice. Contemporary Justice Review, 16(2), 251–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Agamben, G. (2005). States of exception. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alexander, M. (2010). The new Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New York: The New Press.Google Scholar
  4. Andreas, P., & Nadelmann, E. (2006). Policing the globe: Criminalization and crime control in international relations. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Barak, G. (2012). Theft of a nation: Wall street looting and federal regulatory colluding. New York: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  6. Barnett, R. (2015). Why NSA data seizures are unconstitutional. Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, 38, 3–20.Google Scholar
  7. Beck, U. (2007). Power in the global age: A new global political economy. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  8. Bohrman, R., & Murakawa, N. (2005). Remaking big government: Immigration and crime control in the United States. In J. Sudbury (Ed.), Global lockdown: Race, gender, and the prison-industrial complex (pp. 109–126). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Carson, E. A. (2014). Bulletin: Prisoners in 2014. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics (September).Google Scholar
  10. Chamblis, W. J. (1993). On lawmaking. In W. J. Chambliss & M. S. Zatz (Eds.), Making law: The state, law and structural contradictions (pp. 290–314). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Chambliss, W. J. (1969). On vagrancy. In W. J. Chambliss (Ed.), Crime and the legal process (pp. 51–62). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  12. Chambliss, W. J. (1993). State-organized crime. In W. J. Chambliss & M. S. Zatz (Eds.), Making law: The state, law and structural contradictions (pp. 290–314). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Chambliss, W. J. (1999). Power, politics, and crime. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  14. Chambliss, W., Michalowski, R., & Kramer, R. (2010). State crime in the global age. Portland: Willan.Google Scholar
  15. Chambliss, W. J., & Seidman, R. (1982). Law, order and power. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  16. Chambliss, W. J., & Zatz, M. S. (1993). Making law: The state, law and structural contradictions. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Chin, C. B. N. (2000). The state of the ‘state’ in globalization: Social order and economic restructuring in Malaysia. Third World Quarterly, 21(6), 1035–1057.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cohen, R., & Kennedy, P. (2013). Global sociology. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Dickinson, L. A. (2013). Regulating the privatized security industry: The promise of public/private governance. Emory Law Journal, 63, 417–454.Google Scholar
  20. Farer, T. (1999). Transnational crime in the Americas. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. Fitzpatrick, T. (2002). Critical theory, information society, and surveillance technologies. Information, Communication and Society, 5(3), 357–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fukuda-Parr, S. (2003). New threats to human security in the era of globalization. Journal of Human Development, 4(2), 167–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gambetti, Z., & Godoy-Anativia, (2013). Rhetorics of insecurity: Belonging and violence in the Neoliberal era. New York: New York University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Goldstein, A. (2007). The private arm of the law. Washington Post, January 2. Accessed February 12, 2007.
  25. Greenwald, G. (2014). No place to hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. surveillance state. New York: Metropolitan Books.Google Scholar
  26. Herivel, T., & Wright, P. (2007). Prison profiteers: Who makes money from mass incarceration. New York: The New Press.Google Scholar
  27. Isin, E. F. (2012). Citizens without frontiers. New York: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  28. Johnston, L. (2000). Transnational private policing. In J. W. E. Sheptycki (Ed.), Issues in transnational policing (pp. 21–42). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Krishnan, A. (2011). The future of U.S. intelligence outsourcing. Brown Journal of World Affairs XVIII, 1, 195–201.Google Scholar
  30. Marx, G. T. (2005). Some conceptual issues in the study of borders and surveillance. In E. Zureik & M. B. Salter (Eds.), Global surveillance and policing: Borders, security, identity (pp. 11–35). Portland, Oregon: Willan.Google Scholar
  31. McCulloch, J., & Pickering, S. (2009). Pre-crime and counterterrorism: Imagining future crime in the ‘war on terror’. British Journal of Criminology, 49, 628–645.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McCulloch, J., Pickering, S., McQueen, R., Tham, J., & Wright-Neville, D. (2004). Contemporary comments: Suppressing the financing of terrorism. Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 16(1), 71–78.Google Scholar
  33. McCulloch, J., & Tham, J. (2005). Secret state, transparent subject: The Australian security intelligence organization in the age of terror. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 38(9), 400–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. McCulloch, J., & Wilson, D. (2015). Pre-Crime: Pre-emption, precaution and the future. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. McGuire, M. R. (2012). Technology, crime and justice: The question concerning technomia. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  36. Michalowski, R., & Kramer, R. C. (2006). State-corporate crime: Wrongdoing at the intersection of business and government. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Naim, M. (2006). Illicit: How smugglers, traffickers and copycats are highjacking the global economy. New York: Anchor.Google Scholar
  38. Olshansky, B. (2007). Democracy detained: Secret unconstitutional practices in the U.S. war on terror. New York: Seven Stories Press.Google Scholar
  39. Ritzer, G., & Dean, P. (2015). Globalization: A basic text. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley.Google Scholar
  40. Robinson, W. I. (2014). Global capitalism and the crisis of humanity. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sassen, S. (2008). Territory, authority, rights: From medieval to global assemblages. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sassen, S. (2013). Visible formalizations and formally invisible facticities. Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, 20(1), 3–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sassen, S. (2015). From national borders to embedded borderings. In L. Weber (Ed.), Rethinking border control for a globalising world: A preferred future (pp. 179–189). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  44. Schrader, K. (2007, March 20). Red Cross says detainees reported abuse. USA Today, A8.Google Scholar
  45. Scraton, P., & McCulloch, J. (2009). The violence of incarceration. In P. Scraton & J. McCulloch (Eds.), The violence of incarceration (pp. 1–18). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  46. Shaw, M. (2003). The state of globalization: Towards a theory of state transformation. In N. Brenner & B. Jessop (Eds.), State/Space: A reader (pp. 117–130). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  47. Slaughter, A. M. (2005). A new world order. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Stanley, E. (2012). Torture and terror. In T. Anthony & C. Cunneen (Eds.), The Critical Criminology Companion (pp. 158–168). Leichhardt, New South Wales: Hawkins Press.Google Scholar
  49. Sweet, A. S. (2004). Islands of transnational governance. In C. K. Ansell & G. Di Palma (Eds.), Restructuring Territoriality (pp. 122–144). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Tham, J. (2007). A risk-based analysis of Australia’s counterterrorism financing regime. Social Justice, 34(2), 138–152.Google Scholar
  51. Tyson, A. S. (2005). Private security workers living on edge in Iraq: Downing of helicopter shows heightened risks. Washington Post, Saturday, April 23; A01 (April 5, 2007;
  52. Walker, C., & Whyte, D. (2005). Contracting out war? Private military companies, law and regulation in the United Kingdom. International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 54, 651–690.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Whyte, D. (2007). Hire an American! Economic tyranny and corruption in Iraq. Social Justice, 34(2), 153–168.Google Scholar
  54. Wonders, N. A. (2008). Globalization, border reconstruction projects, and transnational crime. Social Justice, 34(2), 33–46.Google Scholar
  55. Wonders, N. A., & Danner, M. J. E. (2006). Globalization, state-corporate crime, and women: The strategic role of women’s NGOs in the new world order. In R. C. Kramer & R. J. Michalowski (Eds.), State-corporate crime: Wrongdoing at the intersection of business and government. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  56. Wonders, N. A., & Danner, M. J. E. (2015). Gendering climate change: A feminist criminological perspective. Critical Criminology, 23(4), 401–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wonders, N. A., & Solop, F. I. (1993). Understanding the emergence of law and public policy: Toward a relational model of the state. In W. Chambliss & M. Zatz (Eds.), Making law: The state, law and structural contradictions (pp. 204–225). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  58. Wonders, B. J., Solop, F. I., & Wonders, N. A. (2012). Information sampling and linking: Reality hunger and the digital knowledge commons. Contemporary Social Science: Journal of the Academy of Social Sciences,. doi: 10.1080/21582041.2012.683447.Google Scholar
  59. Zureik, E., & Salter, M. (2005). Global surveillance and policing: Borders, security and identity. Portland, Oregon: Willan.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminology and Criminal JusticeNorthern Arizona UniversityFlagstaffUSA

Personalised recommendations