The present study investigates how prison comes across as a culturally constructed imaginary. Drawing on narratological methodologies, the study discusses prison as simultaneously real and imagined in society’s ongoing communication with and about itself. Through an investigation of how prison is presented in autobiographical prison literature, the study shows how culturally held fears of imprisonment surface in terms of abjection and uncanniness. Previous prison studies have discussed this in terms of civil death and subsequent resurrection. Unlike previous studies, the present study employs the monstrous-feminine motif as a critical device in order to redefine the understanding of prison as abject and uncanny in patriarchal societies. An implementation of the monstrous-feminine motif enables a reading of the prison’s particular form of punishment as one that entails incorporation and assimilation; rather than operating on a patriarchal principle of exclusion.
When considering abolition of the criminal justice system, there is no greater or more impactful relevance than for juveniles that find themselves inextricably linked to the juvenile justice system. From its inception, the philosophical foundation of juvenile care was to provide individualized, compassionate assistance to young men and women perceived to be in need of emotional care and/or social control. With the establishment of the Cook County Juvenile Court in 1899, the American juvenile justice system has endured a 118-year odyssey that has produced progressively rational, largely unsympathetic, and increasingly punitive practices. With happenings such as the ‘school-to-prison pipeline’, ‘juvenile life without the possibility of parole’, ‘teen courts’, and ‘deferred prosecution probation’, current juveniles that make unassuming mistakes and errors in judgment are adjoined to a system that sustains and reinforces itself through these mistakes and errors. The charge of this article is to recommend the abolition of the contemporary juvenile justice system, with safeguards for the protection from serious offenders and a return to the compassionate care that is warranted for the majority of juveniles that currently bolster the system.
In this paper I propose a transgression theory and a standard theory toward penal abolition. I argue that given the ubiquity of “crime” in human relationships, to speak of “criminal behavior” as deviant nullifies the concept deviance (abnormal, out of the ordinary, etc.). After demonstrating that empirically the opposite is the case, I argue for a transgression theory (that most human beings regularly act in ways that transgress the norms and laws they establish) and propose a standard theory (that human beings are both maintainers and transgressors of the social orders they establish). My paper challenges the foundational language (constructions) of “criminal justice” logic that ignore the continuity of the past in the present (white supremacy, neocolonialism, racial capitalism, and gendering enslavement), and that fortify discourse and practice from recognizing, eliminating and standing accountable by rectifying centuries of white privilege, heteronormativity, and the oppression of nonwhite bodies.
The ‘sex offender’ is the subject of intense media focus, public attention, political manipulation, as well as psychological, sociological and correctional interest. He is categorized, classified and vilified by the public, the media, the psy-disciplines and through diverse correctional practices. This paper dissects the social construction of the “sex offender” category, examines the resultant problems for the abolitionist stance, and proposes a way to move the conversation forward. I conceptualize what engaging with the issue of sexual harm would look like from an abolitionist perspective and explore various initiatives such as Circles of Support and Accountability, and other promising initiatives that would work well for people who are likely to or who have sexually harmed.
Antiprison activists have often turned the federal court system to reduce the violence of the carceral state. However, such reform attempts have too often had the unintended consequence of fortifying the penal system. In this article, I interrogate one such intervention—a federal court order that encompassed the Louisiana Department of Corrections from 1975 to 1998. I argue that while the lawsuit was declared a success in reforming Angola, the federal court’s intervention buttressed and legitimated the growth of the Louisiana penal system. This paradox was produced through the limits of liberal reform ideology that failed to recognize the structural violence of incarceration. Rather, the federal courts located violence with prisoners instead of the punitive power of the state and racial capitalism. This framework not only led to an increase in punitive practices within Angola, it came to underpin penal expansion as the primary solution to cyclical overcrowding.
Within the field of green criminology, scant attention has been paid to prison ecology, or the unique characteristics of the common environments of correctional facilities. As investigative reports by human rights and prison abolition organizations have highlighted, there is growing evidence to suggest a systemic pattern of prisoners being exposed to environmental injustices resulting from their proximity to federal Superfund and other contaminated sites. One of the most expensive Superfund sites in the Midwest, the former Velsicol Chemical Corporation plant site in St. Louis, Michigan has been contaminated with DDT, PBB and pCBSA. Located one and a half miles from the site is one of the State’s largest correctional compounds- the Central Michigan and St. Louis Correctional facilities- which house more than 3500 prisoners who are disproportionately men of color. Despite multiple civil rights lawsuits filed by prisoners at the facility, little has been done to address the problems of water contamination at the prison. Furthermore, the failure of the Environmental Protection Agency to consider prisoners within federal environmental justice guidelines facilitates continued harm for this vulnerable population. Given the increasing revelations of toxic prisons across the U.S., it is necessary for environmentalists and green criminologists to work together with prison abolition organizations to fight the epidemic of toxic prisons.
There are various critiques laid out against the framework of carceral abolition (as it appears currently in prison abolition and deinstitutionalization): that it is abstract, only critiques but does not suggest specific solutions; that it is a utopian vision of the world; and that it is unrealistic in the world we currently occupy. Throughout this article I will demonstrate how such critiques can be conceptualized as strengths of these movements and frameworks for liberation. I argue that carceral abolition (as it appears in prison abolition and deinstitutionalization) is a form of knowledge, an ethical position. My first claim is that this knowledge is rooted in maroonage and I show the consequences of not engaging with abolition from intersectional frameworks. My second claim is that we can understand abolition as a dis-epistemology that rejects ways of knowing tied to certainty, optimism and certain notions of futurity and temporality.
Critical criminologists have challenged the utility of efforts to reform the criminal justice system for decades, including strong calls to abolish the prison system. More recently, the rebellions in Ferguson, Baltimore, Milwaukee, and Charlotte have made racialized police violence and police reform issues of national concern. In this article, we examine abolitionist claims aimed at law enforcement institutions in the aftermath of Ferguson and other subsequent rebellions. We consider the implications for abolitionist organizing when the institution of law enforcement, rather than prisons, becomes the explicit target of our movement(s). How are groups theorizing and practicing police abolition and how does this align with, challenge, or expand past conceptualizations of abolition? To answer this question, first we sketch the broad parameters of abolitionist thought, particularly as it is taken up in the disciplines of political theory and criminology. Second, we analyze an emergent praxis of police abolition that revolves around the call to disband, disempower, and disarm law enforcement institutions. We argue that by attacking the police as an institution, by challenging its very right to exist, the contemporary abolitionist movement contains the potential to radically transform society. In this spirit, we amplify abolitionist praxis that (1) aims directly at the police as an institution, (2) seeks to dismantle the racial capitalist order, (3) adopts uncompromising positions that resist liberal attempts at co-optation, incorporation, and/or reconciliation, and (4) creates alterative democratic spaces that directly challenge the legitimacy of the police.
This article focuses on the perspectives of young ethnic minorities in the Nordic countries who have experienced various forms of “police stops”, i.e. situations where the police stop them without any reference to a specific event of which the youth are aware. Analytically, the debate is positioned through an intersectionality approach of (un)belonging to majority societies. Across the Nordic countries, we found that the young people described five social markers as reasons for being stopped, namely clothing, hanging out in groups, ethnicity, neighbourhoods and gender. We argue that the police stops explicate how the young men in particular are often forced to think about themselves in terms of “a threat” to the majority and the attributes they have that make them seem like criminals.
One of the most persistent criticisms of the peacemaking perspective in criminology is that it lacks testable hypotheses and realistic policy implications. In this essay, we examine the applicability of peacemaking ideas to the mechanisms identified by scholars that are associated with desistance from crime. We argue that the process of desistance has many similarities with peacemaking ideas and may provide an avenue for testing some of the core propositions of the peacemaking perspective. We propose a model that depicts the relationships between variables that have been observed in the desistance literature and examine how they relate to the peacemaking perspective. Policy implications of these ideas are also discussed.
This essay argues that race and class influence drug laws through politicized means. Crack-cocaine and methamphetamine production, sales, and use were met with criminalizing efforts because of their respective association with African Americans and poor Whites, two groups that have been differentially identified as threatening to hegemonic power. Despite some similarities in criminalizing outcomes, specific reactions differed. Crack-cocaine’s publicized connection to violence resulted in extensive surveillance, arrest, and imprisonment. Attention surrounding methamphetamine, however, often linked the drug to safety hazards, including property explosions, physical distortions of users, and the pathology of un(der)employment. As a result, policing the methamphetamine problem increased detentions but not to the same extent as crack-cocaine. I contend that the current opioid “epidemic” has received more medicalized reactions due to opiate’s association to middle- and upper-class Whites—social groups that are traditionally protected. I conclude by proposing that despite nuanced and unique consequences of criminalizing and medicalizing responses, each reflects a neoliberalist agenda that seeks to diffuse social threat and reinforce prevailing inequalities.
Like the rest of the social sciences, criminology is dominated by Western scholars, literature and perspectives. This Westerncentrism of criminology means that non-Western criminological scholarship has largely been marginalised or ignored. This article contributes toward the ongoing efforts to decolonise criminology by arguing that the Malaysian intellectual, Syed Hussein Alatas (1928–2007), is worthy of greater inclusion in criminological research and teaching due to his pioneering scholarship. More specifically, Alatas deserves greater recognition within the criminological subfield of ‘crimes of the powerful’, an area within criminology which has been at the forefront of challenging the criminological status quo but which remains somewhat parochial. This article introduces Alatas’ most notable works and explains their relevance for contemporary criminology.
Few studies explore how employers perceive the experience of hiring recovering substance abusers. Qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted with employers who hire clients from a residential drug treatment facility for adult males in a capital city in the southeastern United States as well as several administrators that work at this facility. The emergent themes uncovered through these interviews shed light on the opinions of those who refuse to abandon a population of individuals who have been neglected by so many others. The research participant insights shed light on the fact that when overcoming drug addiction and abuse, getting sober is only half the battle. These individuals are then left to fight against the labels and stigmatization cast upon them by society. Information gleaned from these interviews may offer employers who may consider hiring ex-offenders, insights into potential benefits and problems they may encounter in working with this population. The findings of this study emphasize the damning effects of labeling on the social reintegration of those desperate for a second chance at being productive members of society.
The incarceration of transgender prisoners in men’s prisons is a burgeoning topic of legal challenge, policy development, and social science inquiry. The conspicuous absence of comparable attention to women’s facilities may facilitate a tacit assumption that what is known about transgender prisoners in men’s prisons translates seamlessly to women’s facilities. This paper interrogates this assumption by examining current understandings of what it means to be transgender in a women’s prison. Findings from focus groups with prisoners and staff reveal that gender is understood as both reflected by and constituted through social interaction. Specifically, in attempting to explain the concept of “transgender” in women’s prisons, this work instead reveals a different prevailing concept in prisoner culture: “aggressor.” Unlike transgender, aggressor does not denote gender identity; rather, it implies presentation and performance as reflective of gendered ways of navigating relationships within the context of a sex-segregated setting. These findings simultaneously affirm the extant literature on gender and sexuality in women’s prisons and complicate the translation of the identity-based concept “transgender” from men’s prisons to a women’s prison.
Capital punishment, although opposed by numerous scholars and banned in several countries, continues to be practiced in many locations under a popular rationale associated with retributive justice. While there has been extensive debate on this issue for decades among scholars, policymakers, correctional professionals, and the media; other important voices, specifically the voices of family members of executed convicts, have been ignored or discounted. Situated within a convict criminology perspective, this paper focuses on a personal narrative of how the issue of capital punishment was experienced by the partner (second author of this paper) of an executed convict. This narrative powerfully illustrates complexities and unintended social injustices toward family members that can occur from capital punishment.
Since its initial proposal in the 1990s, ‘green criminology’ has focused on environmental crimes and harms affecting non-human and human life, ecosystems, and the planet as a whole. Describing global trends toward privatization of water supply systems and the criminalization of several water conservation activities and tactics, this paper employs theoretical perspectives offered by green, cultural, and critical criminologies, focusing on overt resistance to water privatization and oppressive regulations governing rainwater storage and residential water recycling. Taking a critical theoretical perspective, this paper examines water access and autonomy, individuals and groups openly resisting the criminalization of household water reuse and storage, and the cultural significance of water. This paper concludes with an exploration of the potential benefits of a green cultural criminology.
This paper argues that the various and contradictory rationales offered for law enforcement drones are symptomatic of a ‘weapons fetish’ evident in popular culture. This fetishisation imbues military technology such as the drone with masculine fantasies of control and domination that obscure the practical limitations and ethical implications of drones for crime control and prevention. By linking the pleasures of militarism to crucial shifts in the social and economic order, the paper argues that counter-terrorism discourse functions to legitimate the militarised masculine subject positions of paramilitary policing specifically and the neoliberal state generally. In such a context, the drone features as a regressive ‘weapon-toy’ that fuses state control with technological transcendence.
This paper examines the coverage of American Indians and Alaskan Natives (AI/AN) in the most widely read introductory criminal justice and criminology books published between 2004 and 2010. The current research extends upon Young’s (J Crim Justice Educ 1:111–116, 1990) assessment of AI/ANs in criminal justice and criminology introductory textbooks, where he found no mention of AI/ANs. The replication of Young (J Crim Justice Educ 1:111–116, 1990) is especially important because AI/ANs continue to face a wide array of social issues (i.e. substance abuse and poverty), which leads to an overrepresentation of AI/ANs in the criminal justice system. To accomplish this, a content analysis was conducted on thirty-one introductory criminal justice and criminology textbooks to determine whether AI/ANs have received more academic coverage in current textbooks. The findings reveal that introductory criminal justice and criminology textbooks still under represent AI/ANs despite experiencing crime, victimization, and justice related problems.
A number of incidents and community movements in the post-economic growth era have come to shape understandings of the Republic of Ireland’s marginalised groupings. These groups exist in both urban streetscapes and rural communities; all have come to represent a new culture of transgressive resistance in a state that has never completely dealt with issues of political legitimacy or extensive poverty, creating a deviant form of ‘liquid modernity’ which provides the space for such groupings to exist. The article demonstrates that the prevailing ideology in contemporary, post-downturn Ireland have created the conditions for incidents of ‘cultural criminology’ that at times erupt into episodes of counter hegemonic governmentality. The article further argues that these groups which have emerged may represent the type of transgressive Foucaultian governmentality envisaged by Kevin Stenson, while they are indicative of subcultures of discontent and nascent racism which belie the contented findings of various affluence and contentment surveys conducted during the years of rapid growth. The paper develops this theme of counter-hegemonic ‘governmentality’, or the regional attempts to challenge authorities by local groups of transgressors. The paper finally argues that, in many ways, the emergence of a culture of criminality in the Irish case, and media depictions of the same, can be said to stem from the corruption of that country’s elites as much as from any agenda for resistance from its beleaguered subcultures.
The identification, assessment, and minimization of crime risk has permeated practices that extend well beyond traditional criminal justice responses. This article analyses crime risk assessment reports and the guidelines and processes through which they are produced for large-scale commercial and residential developments and redevelopments, taking New South Wales Australia as a case study. The article suggests that although the crime risk assessment guidelines and reports deploy a language of risk, there is a messiness and inconsistency to the crime risk assessment process that raises significant questions its normative utility. The article concludes that the language and promise of risk minimisation can silence or ‘black box’ what appear to be coherent regulatory process making them little more than symbolic gestures.
The media play a key role in stereotyping as “ignorant and uncouth hillbillies” people who live in rural US communities. As well, since the early 1970s, popular films frequently portray rural areas as dangerous locations, places where urban people are at high risk of being savagely killed and tortured by demented, in-bred locals without conscience or constraint. Further, with the advent of the Internet, rural women continue to be depicted in a degrading, highly sexualized manner and “gonzo” pornographic videos of them are widely and freely accessible. Informed by feminist and cultural criminological modes of inquiry, this paper presents some exploratory research on rural horror films and pornographic videos. A key argument is that with the help of new information technologies, these media are normalized, mainstreamed, and contribute to the horrification/pornification of rural culture, and by doing so, mask the real issues about crime, violence, and gender relations in the rural context.
Sweden’s reputation as one of the most encompassing welfare states in the world is maintained by means of a good self-image, not least in relation to refugee policies. At the same time, external authorities have been critical of Sweden’s handling of the process of seeking asylum. Drawing on Stanley Cohen’s concepts of denial and partial acknowledgment, the article explores how Swedish state officials respond to complaints regarding the process of seeking asylum and other forms of residence permit. The study analyzes judgments from the Parliamentary Ombudsman, the Chancellor of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights. The analysis suggests that even within the well-developed democratic state, denials constitute a form of account that may be utilized to maintain bureaucratic legitimacy. In addition, partial acknowledgments serve to present state actors as decent and self-correcting. At the same time these acknowledgements could be understood as constituting a means of avoiding moral censure.
In this paper I will argue, through the example of the “treatment” of racialized minorities diagnosed with mental illness, that the mental health system (including its unique laws, production of different identity categories and ruling disciplines), with its dogmatic adherence to and reliance on alleged expert opinion and internal inquiry, allows for the erasure of subaltern voices. Often we hear about a tragic incident as reported by the media about someone diagnosed with a mental illness who has committed a crime. These representations routinely present the person as violent, aggressive, uncontrollable, and unpredictable. Repeatedly the voice of the accused is not represented; his or her social, historical, and political contexts are not considered relevant. The technologies of the criminal justice and mental health system’s use of physical or chemical restraint, coercive treatment, or practices such as deportation are also not reported, thus reproducing systems of harm. We don’t get to look inside the asylum. Patients’ voices are excluded from the discursive practices, disciplinary hegemony or dominant regimes of truth within the mental health system. This creates a system impermeable to criticism, where violence continues to prevail. Through a discussion of the disproportionate criminalization and deportation of the mentally ill, the false associations between mental illness and violence, the colonial ancestry of internal inquiry, and example cases from the media, this paper reviews how these particular technologies of violence owe their inheritance to the orientalising, discursive practices and disciplinary hegemony developed during colonization that when ignored, reproduce the dehumanizing outcomes upon which they were built.
Renewed interest in communities as spaces for criminal opportunity has generated numerous studies of neighborhood social dynamics and crime. Most of this research is rooted in social disorganization theory, which examines neighborhood structural characteristics that facilitate effective social control. While many studies tout the benefits of community-based controls, the potential externalities of these efforts remain underexplored. In the modern neoliberal context, where policing strategies stress community involvement and often focus on vaguely-defined problems like “quality of life” or “incivilities” and where police have considerable enforcement discretion, the unintended consequences of community-based controls are important to document. I use the ethnographic case study of Gardner Village to explore the potential collateral consequences of one form of collective social control: new parochialism. Applying a critical lens to the social disorganization literature, I argue that when embedded in particular structural contexts, new parochialism contributes to the reproduction of inequality and undermines community-building processes.
This article considers the role of space, place and identity in influencing gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, intersex and queer (GLBTIQ) young adults’ experiences of unwanted sexual attention in licensed venues. It is argued in this article that the roles of space, place and identity are largely absent from theoretical understandings of sexual violence. Gender-based accounts of sexual violence, while important, are unable to fully account for sexual violence that is perpetrated within and against GLBTIQ communities. Drawing on data obtained through a mixed-methods study, in the first half of the article I establish the manner in which GLBTIQ young adults’ unique relationship with licensed venues appears to mediate the ways in which unwanted sexual attention occurring in these spaces is experienced and understood. The second half of this article is concerned with exploring the intersections between unwanted sexual attention and heterosexist violence and abuse in clubs and pubs. I conclude by considering the implications of these findings for theoretical understandings of sexual violence and unwanted sexual attention.
Hate crime laws have reinforced neoliberalism by expanding police and prosecutorial power, adding to the rapid expansion of incarcerated populations. Further, hate crime discourse associates anti-queer violence with notions of “stranger danger,” and thereby reproduces problematic race and social class politics in which an innocent, implicitly middle-class, person is suddenly and randomly attacked by a hateful, implicitly low-income, person. Thus, the author argues that queer and intersectional resistance should reject hate crime discourse and, instead, focus on the experiences of marginalized lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. By doing so, scholarship and activism concerned with reducing anti-queer violence can benefit a wide range of LGBT people without reinforcing inequalities based on race and social class.
This article argues that criminology desperately needs to look at the ways in which states marginalize and persecute lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and queer (LGBTQ) identities. It critically examines the ways in which states reproduce hegemonic dictates that privilege those who adhere to gendered heterosexual norms over all others. This article further considers how the application of state crime theories, in particular Michalowski’s (State crime in the global age, pp. 13–30, Devon, Willan, 2010) tripartite framework, might further foreground the responsibility of the state in protecting LGBTQ identities. Examples of how this framework could be applied are given, with the case study of criminalization of same sex relations being focused on in depth. The article concludes by positing four key points to be considered in any analysis that attempts to critique the role of the state in the perpetuation of heterosexual hegemony.
This article builds on previous work that argues that a useful path for a “queer/ed criminology” to follow is one that takes “queer” to denote a position. It suggests that one way of developing such an approach is to adopt a particular understanding of critique—specifically one that draws from Michel Foucault’s view of critique as “the art of not being governed.” It then charts some of the possible directions for such a “queer/ed criminology.” While such an approach to critique has previously been discussed within critical criminologies, this article suggests that it is useful for queer criminologists to explore the opportunities that it affords, particularly in order to better appreciate how “queer/ed criminology” might connect to, draw from, or push against other currents among critical criminologies, and help to delineate the unique contribution that this kind of “queer/ed criminology” might make.
Scholars are only beginning to take account of how trans people experience violence motivated by their gender identity and expression. Based on a series of focus groups and interviews across Canada, this article aims to further this area of inquiry. The fear of victimization, and thus hyper-vigilance, seems to be particularly acute among trans women. Many of them spoke of the multiple and complex layers through which they defined “safety” and lack thereof. We share their experiences and perceptions of the threat of hate motivated violence, and their subsequent reactions.
In this article, I review the scant literature on gay men’s involvement in violence, gangs, and crime, which characterizes gay men as having little opportunity for agency. In discussing the popular culture, academic, and political reasons why this population has been neglected from study, I identify existing stereotypes that have shaped representations of gay men. I challenge our societal and disciplinary assumptions by presenting examples from my interview-based and partially ethnographic study of 53 gay gang- and crime-involved men, who both respond to and actively resist stereotypes about them. I also critically reflect on whether a continued lack of attention to queer populations in the criminological and related literatures is desirable today, but conclude the article by providing suggestions for scholars looking to conduct research with LGBT populations, especially within criminology and criminal justice.
It is intuitive to include critical criminologists in early conversations about “queering” criminology given that the paradigms and methods of critical criminology can be employed to challenge subordination and inequality in its several dimensions. The first part (and main focus) of this article problematizes this intuition, which is easy to accept at face value, by reflecting backwards and explaining how early influential critical criminological views perpetuated damaging stereotypes and representations of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people as sexual deviants. The second part reflects forward, and discusses the difficulties of carving a space in the discipline for critical queer perspectives. Drawing on critical and critical race theories, this article advocates a relational, intersectional approach to conceptualize sexual orientation and gender identity in criminological theory and research. This approach considers the connections among sexual orientation or gender identity and other differences (e.g., race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, class, gender, etc.) without assuming or attaching fixed meanings to those differences.
The purpose of this article is to highlight the experiences of transgender people within the criminal justice system as both victims and offenders. We contend that queer criminology is both needed and can assist in exploring the experiences of this unique population who face discrimination within the US criminal justice system and who are often ignored within criminological research. The article will provide an overview of transgender people’s general experiences within the criminal justice system and explore influences of cultural stereotypes about transgender people by examining the cases of three transgender victims of violence—Brandon Teena, Gwen Araujo, and Cece McDonald. This article highlights the importance of concepts such as sex, gender, transpanic, transphobia, victim-blaming, and the responses by key players in the criminal justice system (police, courts, and corrections) to transgender victims and offenders.
Research has suggested that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people are “at-risk” of victimization and/or legally “risky.” Relatively few studies have examined the social construction of risk in “risk factor” research and whether risk as a concept influences the everyday lives of LGBT young people. This article reports how 35 LGBT young people and seven service provider staff in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia perceived LGBT youth–police interactions as reflecting discourses about LGBT riskiness and danger. The participants specifically note how they thought looking at-risk and/or looking risky informed their policing experiences. The article concludes with recommendations for improving future policing practice.
Cultural criminology suggests that crime, deviance, and transgression are often subcultural in nature. For this reason, cultural criminologists often focus on the simultaneous forces of cultural inclusion and social exclusion when explaining criminal, deviant, or transgressive behaviors. This is a particularly useful bricolage for examining contemporary gay deviance and transgression—behaviors that are perhaps closely linked to (if not directly caused by) the past isolation, marginalization and/or oppression of homosexuals by Western heteronormative societies. It is also useful for understanding behaviors that are the result of marginalization and oppression from other sources, namely, the gay community itself. Using subcultural theories of deviance—such as those favored by cultural criminologists—this article explores a perspective that can be used for exploring certain forms of gay deviance and transgression. First, some of the more ostensible criminological theories that satisfy a prima facie criminological inquiry will be presented and critiqued: labeling and stigma, and resistance to heteronormativity. To these will be added a new and potentially productive way of thinking that takes into consideration rule-breaking as a form of resistance to homonormative norms, values and rules.
Large unmanned aerial vehicles (i.e., drones) equipped with missiles and bombs or battle-equipped have progressively become the newest wave in “warfare.” We argue that the use of drones for targeted assassinations is merely a new technological tool for state violence that is increasingly becoming a regular exercise of the US power in the construction and reification of the broader social geopolitical order. Further, it is through law, domestic and international, that state violence, wars and the use of drones for targeted assassinations are legitimated and are a normality, and continuation of, the political management of the state. Taken with the core of humanitarian law that legitimates war and state violence, we suggest that the use of drones can be interpreted within the body of legislation, political discourse, and laws that serve to normalize and legitimize their use: no different than such processes that occurred with the technological advances that offered military tanks, aerial bombing, projectile missiles or even nuclear and chemical weapons.
This article presents a constitutive criminological perspective of the ‘war on terror’. The article will first deconstruct the ‘war on terror’; showing how constitutive criminology provides a framework in which foreign policy, the UK state; the police, and society can be systematically analyzed in relation to one another. Second, the article explores how constitutive criminology enables a critical analysis of the dominant state-centric ‘war on terror’ discourse. The article through discussing the multifaceted ‘war on terror’ demonstrates the relevance of constitutive criminology, as a non state centric approach to critical perspectives in criminology.
The Interstate-35 West Bridge collapse offers a unique case of state crime. First, it illuminates a new topical area in the state crime literature, public infrastructure. Second, it illustrates how the bridge collapse was not a discrete act (Tombs in State Crime 1(2):170–195, 2012), but rather the outcome of relationships between different social institutions. Specifically, it demonstrates how processes within a state, in confluence with the broader political economy, produced decisions (omissions) not to invest in infrastructure repair, take expert advice, and improve coordination between agencies. Simultaneously, these same processes resulted in deliberate actions (commissions) to invest in new infrastructure rather than in maintenance and repair of existing infrastructure, and to reduce both regulatory oversight and safety procedures. We provide a detailed overview of the bridge collapse, then utilizing Kauzlarich and Kramer’s (Crimes of the American nuclear state, Northeastern University Press, Boston, 1998) integrated theoretical framework, contextualize the causes of the collapse and highlight how state processes and political-economic conditions resulted in the simultaneous occurrence of crimes of omission and commission on the part of the state.
This paper explores notions of harm in sex work discourse, highlighting the extent to which essentialist ideas of ‘good’ versus ‘bad’ sex have pervaded trafficking policy. In a comparative examination of Australian Parliamentary Inquiries and United States congressional hearings leading to the establishment of anti-trafficking policy, we identify the stories that have influenced legislators, and established a narrative of trafficking heavily dependent upon assumptions of the inherent harm of sex work. This narrative constructs a hierarchy of victimisation, which denies alternative discourses of why women migrate for sex work. We argue that it is not sexual commerce that is harmful, but pathological, systemic inequalities and entrenched disadvantage that are harmful. A narrow narrative of trafficking fails to adequately depict this complexity of the trafficked experience.
Psychosocial and feminist criminologies produce a complex etiology of adolescent female violence, and advance understanding of much female behavior that juvenile authorities formally address: mental health disturbances. When girls’ violent behaviors are considered within a psychodynamic theoretical framework, policy problems are dramatically redefined, resulting in a reformulation of the social problem, newly contextualized, and the collective responses to the troubled girls it has defined. This paper places known etiologies of violent behaviors, including case study material, in a context of extant social policies that impact and determine the social location and control of violent girls. We argue that efficacious policy responses would be psychosocially informed, and focus upon a more holistic mental health praxis, rather than criminal justice practices alone.
Robert Sampson’s “Great American City” is a methodologically rich and theoretically broad contribution to the literature on durable inequality in US cities. While empirically clear on the causes and consequences of lasting social exclusion, the text’s insights remain somewhat trapped behind the “collective efficacy” language of the “broken windows” theories it attempts to shatter. In looking at community empowerment, or its lack, in the inner-city, the racialized role of urban police must be central to any analysis of the cycle of crime and poverty, and how to break it.
Early research on prisoner reentry was largely practical and applied, oriented to policymakers responding to the myriad challenges presented by having millions of people leaving prisons and jails each year. More recently, scholars have drawn on critical theoretical frameworks to reformulate the problem as bound up with large-scale shifts in the nature of social control (Wacquant in Dialect Anthropol 34(4):605–620, 2010a), deep racial divisions (Nixon et al. in Race/Ethnicity: Multidiscip Glob Contexts 2(1):21–43, 2008), and transformations of the United States political economy (Hallett in Crit Criminol. doi:10.1007/s10612-011-9138-8, 2011). This paper continues the work of theoretical elaboration through two avenues: (1) examining the contribution that Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish can make to the conceptual development of reentry scholarship, and (2) reworking Foucauldian concepts and themes important to the study of reentry to account for their racialized characteristics.
The aim of this paper is to extend some of the theoretical concerns that Marcus Felson (2006) opens up in Crime and Nature by considering the contribution of post humanist political ecology to the construction of crime and nature that he proposes. Post humanism problematises dichotomous understandings of nature and culture as well as related binaries that follow from that division, suggesting that dominant assumptions about nature and the non human undermine antiracist and feminist efforts. While Felson (2006) takes steps towards troubling the nature/culture binary, he fails to question the constructed character of crime and crime prevention, thereby leaving unarticulated a critical problematisation of the exclusionary logics that underlie dominant practices and ways of thinking as race, sex, class and species fundamentally determine the nature of criminological knowledge. Abstracting crime from social context produces a partial analysis as spaces are reduced to their supposed propensity for criminal activity and some spaces are produced as always already criminal. Without examining and understanding how power relations intersect in the context of crime it is difficult to alter those relations to promote social justice.
Negotiated management—various forms of communication, collaboration and cooperation between police and protest organizers, often taking the form of protest permits—has been mainly theorized as a means to mitigate police violence while respecting protesters’ 1st Amendment rights. A few theorists have problematized this view, suggesting that negotiated management is a form of social control that puts various restrictions on dissent. Drawing from my research on Occupy Oakland, I build upon these critiques to illustrate how negotiated management was used as a tool of repression in two key ways, and how newer forms of repression (strategic incapacitation) are still enmeshed in its logic. First, by criminalizing legal activity among protesters, through the use of a permit, who were then subjected to police repression. Second, I show how negotiated management as a normative structure of protest was used as a form of repression, even when communication and cooperation with police were clearly rejected by the movement. I illustrate how the refusal of negotiated management was used to discredit the movement and subject it to physical repression. Rather than seeing negotiated management as an alternative to police repression and strategic incapacitation, I argue that they are two sides of the same policing project, the primary aim of which is to prevent disruptive protest.
This article is based on a study in which the work of police officers has been followed on a day-to-day basis, with a special focus on the work directed at youths. The focus is on how contact is established or obstructed in the meeting between police officers and young males, and the significance of constructions of masculinity and ethnicity/race for this process. Encounters between young males and police officers are analysed from Yuval-Davis notions of belonging and unbelonging. The analysis shows how both masculinity and ethnicity/race can be used for establishing or obstructing contact between police and young males. The article also show how belonging and unbelonging is a question of negotiations that can undergo a number of shifts in the course of a given situation, and also that these negotiations take the form of a collaborative activity, even if this starts from unequal power positions. A situation that starts from an antagonistic approach may in fact, via markers of belonging, turn out quite different. But it is also pointed out that the markers of belonging in one dimension, at the same time may generate markers of unbelonging in others. Finally this developing of contact shall be understood both as a way of changing the contacts into less conflicted ways and as one of several ways of gaining more control in stigmatized areas.
Activists across the globe have increasingly incorporated digital communication technologies into their repertoire of direct action tactics to challenge state and corporate power. Examining the anti-corporate globalization protests at the September 2009 Group of Twenty (G-20) meetings in Pittsburgh, this paper explores how activists used sousveillance and counter-surveillance as direct action tactics to make excessive force by police more visible to the public. Collaborative endeavors such as the G-20 Resistance Project, the Tin Can Comms Collective and independent media centers provided activists with the necessary tactical and strategic communication networks to coordinate direct actions during the G-20 protests. Through the use of surveillance technologies widely available to the public such as video cameras, cell phones and the internet, activists created an environment of permanent visibility in which the behaviors of police were subjected to public scrutiny. The images captured by anti-globalization activists raises a salient question: Is this what a police state looks like?
This essay makes the case for a transformative critical feminist criminology, one that explicitly theorizes gender, one that requires a commitment to social justice, and one that must increasingly be global in scope. Key to this re-thinking of a mature field is the need to expand beyond traditional positivist notions of “science,” to embrace core elements of a feminist approach to methodology, notably the epistemological insights gleaned from a new way of thinking about research, methods, and the relationship between the knower and the known. Other key features of contemporary feminist criminology include an explicit commitment to intersectionality, an understanding of the unique positionality of women in the male dominated fields of policing and corrections, a focus on masculinity and the gender gap in serious crime, a critical assessment of corporate media and the demonization of girls and women of color, and a recognition of the importance of girls’ studies as well as women’s studies to the development of a global, critical feminist criminology.
This paper describes several key developments and dimensions in the field of ‘green criminology’ and discusses some of the relevant debates and controversies arising. It then outlines overlaps and connections with other areas of work within critical criminology. The central focus of the paper is on crimes of the economy as they affect the environment and a substantive, illustrative case study is provided on environmental crimes and harms associated with the oil industry. The paper concludes with some critical observations on where directions in theory, policy and practice may need to turn in a post-growth world.
Cultural criminology focuses on situational, subcultural, and mediated constructions of meaning around issues of crime and crime control. In this sense cultural criminology is designed for critical engagement with the politics of meaning, and for critical intervention into those politics. Yet the broader enterprise of critical criminology engages with the politics of meaning as well; in confronting the power relations of justice and injustice, critical criminologists of all sorts investigate the social and cultural processes by which situations are defined, groups are categorized, and human consequences are understood. The divergence between cultural criminology and other critical criminologies, then, may be defined less by meaning than by the degree of methodological militancy with which meaning is pursued. In any case, this shared concern with the politics of meaning suggests a number of innovations and interventions that cultural criminologists and other critical criminologists might explore.
Left realists continue to offer progressive ways of studying and solving various types of crime in the streets, in the “suites,” and in intimate relationships. This article briefly describes the central themes, assumptions, and concepts of left realism and charts new directions in research, theory, and policy. Special attention is devoted to using new electronic technologies and to responding to the rabid corporatization of institutions of higher learning.
This is an overview of the work of criminologists that informs how people build trust, safe and social security in the face of violent social differences. The article begins with a story of how the term “peacemaking” came to “criminology.” A theory of peacemaking emerging from this beginning is then stated, including a review of criminological literature that informs the theory. The theory is grounded in a paradigmatic departure from criminology’s tradition—the study of crime and criminality—to proposing instead of studying what replaces human separation with cooperation and mutual trust. This paradigm implies that stories of dispute handling are its most authoritative data, especially stories people tell about their own relations. It also implies new ways of evaluating the fruits of adopting a peacemaking paradigm for learning and living.
This article discusses the past, present, and future of the New School of Convict Criminology (CC). A short history, including a discussion of literature, major works, and research studies is provided as is a review of Convict Criminology Group origination, membership, and activities. A first attempt at formal Convict Criminology Theory construction is presented alongside four research hypotheses. University prejudice and exclusion, as well as criminal justice hate words, are also addressed. The conclusion explores the future of CC and requests support for the movement.
Postmodern analysis has suggested new directions in critical criminology. We first situate the development of postmodern analysis, particularly chaos, catastrophe, Lacanian psychoanalytic, and edgework theory. One more recent derivative of a postmodern approach, and as of yet undeveloped, is quantum holography. This article develops a process-informational paradigm rooted in quantum holography. We argue that the noosphere we operate within needs to be challenged. We argue, moreover, criminology lacks a subject, a viable agent. We offer Schema QD, an inter- and intra- subjective agent that is neither a transcendental nor passive subject. We provide short examples of applications in this area meant as suggestive not exhaustive, and conclude with future directions.
Intersectional criminology is a theoretical approach that necessitates a critical reflection on the impact of interconnected identities and statuses of individuals and groups in relation to their experiences with crime, the social control of crime, and any crime-related issues. This approach is grounded in intersectionality, a concept developed from the tenets of women of color feminist theory and activism. To demonstrate how intersectionality is useful in criminology, this article reviews a sampling of feminist and critical research conducted on Black girls’ and women’s experiences with crime, victimization, and criminal legal system processes. This research demonstrates the interlaced social impacts of race, gender, femininity/masculinity ideals, sexuality, and socioeconomic class. This article also provides a basis for widely deploying an intersectional approach throughout the field of criminology across all social identities and statuses.