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Queer Contestations and the Future of a Critical “Queer” Criminology

Critical Criminology

Published online on


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.