Critical Criminology

Published by Springer Nature

Online ISSN: 1572-9877

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Print ISSN: 1205-8629

Articles


Since September 11, All Roads Lead to Rome
  • Article

January 2005

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38 Reads

The Bush administration has repudiated President Clintons signature on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. This repudiation comes when the war on terrorism is directed against the very crimes denounced in the Rome Statute. Critical criminology has been skeptical of criminal law regimes within nations on the ground that they legitimize pre-existing power relationships. The criminal law regime among nations in the Rome Statute is the only method to delegitimize military force by any permanent member of the U.N. Security Council as well as the only forum to try accused terrorists that can offer an appearance of fairness.
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“The Opium Wars”: The Biopolitics of Narcotic Control in the United States, 1914–1935

March 2010

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105 Reads

The emergence of the narcotic control regime in the early twentieth century US provides a historical case study of what Michel Foucault has called “biopolitics”. At the collective level, narcotic control policy emerged as a regulatory mechanism to secure the national population from the spread of addictive substances through an elaborate system of surveillance and control. At the individual level, the drug user emerged as a new criminal subject at the center of an array of medico-penal technologies that sought to understand the psychological and somatic dimensions of addiction, and to normalize the addicted person.

Using the 1994 Rwanda Genocide to Intergrate Critical Criminology and Liberation Sociology

January 2008

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93 Reads

This article explores the 1994 Rwandan Genocide and its educational ramifications in terms of linking critical criminology to liberation sociology and giving greater exposure to Genocide as a criminological issue. The article provides practical advice and theoretical insights on teaching Genocide Studies in the undergraduate classroom. I start by exploring critical criminology and liberation sociology. I then introduce the reader to the 1994 Rwandan Genocide and resources used in my classroom. I explore the implications for (critical) criminology of these materials. Finally I discuss issues that arose during the class.

“It’s a Horrible Coincidence”: Corporate Responsibility and the 2007 Pet Food Recall

September 2009

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55 Reads

The 2007 pet food recall has perhaps become best known for marking the beginning of the barrage of recalled items produced in China. The importance of this case, however, extends well beyond that distinction. The recall received extensive media coverage, its implications are vast, and the threads of corporate malfeasance woven throughout are plentiful. The pet food recall therefore provides an instructive case for examining discourses of corporate responsibility and crime in the media. To this end, an analysis of newspaper accounts of the recall in Canada, where the primary pet food manufacturing company involved is located, and in the United States, where the bulk of the affected pets and owners reside, is undertaken in this paper. Building on previous research examining mediated discourses of corporate crime, this paper documents a shift in the depictions of responsibility for the recall over time. However, a continued reluctance to invoke a “social vocabulary of corporate crime” is observed in the descriptions of certain actors’ actions, particularly once juxtaposed against the behavior of constructed “folk devils” in the case.

Aboriginal women and everyday racism in Alberta: From lived experiences of racism to strategies for personal healing and collective resistance

March 1995

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8 Reads

This ethnographic study of Aboriginal women in southern Alberta analyses how racism is experienced in everyday life and highlights personal and community responses to racism. The stories of fifteen women who were interviewed in 1992–93 provide us with a new understanding of everyday racism: how racism is experienced daily in many aspects of Native people's lives, and how this racism causes pain and loss for Native people. The women's stories also reflect their sense of agency as they respond to racism with efforts for personal healing and anti-racist organizing.

Toward “Safer” and “Better” Communities?: Canada’s Youth Criminal Justice Act, Aboriginal Youth and the Processes of Exclusion

January 2005

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160 Reads

After a decade of high incarceration rates, the Canadian Department of Justice has revised its approach to juvenile justice. Enshrined in the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA), the renewed youth justice system stresses the importance and responsibility of community for crime control. While on the surface the state’s appeals to such programmes as restorative justice seem laudable, caution should be exercised in fully endorsing this approach. While community initiatives have been criticized for “widening the net of social control” and intruding state control deeper into social life, their exclusionary potential is perhaps more troubling. Following Derrida’s metaphysics of presence, I suggest that ‘community’ perpetually finds meaning in opposition to the other. In this environment, Aboriginal youth, who are among the most marginalized in Canadian society, will likely be the most unfavourably effected. This paper does not, however, entirely reject the Act’s appeal to community. Nevertheless, I argue that for meaningful challenges to contemporary constructions of community and youth justice to occur the discursive limits forced upon ‘community’ must be fractured and fashioned in ways that renounce homogeneity.


Social and legal alienation: The case of aboriginal peoples in Canada

March 1995

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52 Reads

The concept ‘alienation’ has become a relatively common expression in contemporary society, the usage of which often belies the varied meanings it has had historically and in contemporary literature. Using the sociology of knowledge, an historical analysis of the use of ‘alienation’ in law, the social sciences, and religion reveals a rich and varied tradition. ‘Alienation’ arose with a positive religious meaning and subsequently became a cornerstone for the new property rights of an emerging capitalist economic order. In this new industrial order, social critics gave a negative meaning to ‘alienation’ that became the basis for the social scientific concept. The legal freedom to alienate property has arguably led to the marginalization of certain segments of society. A specific example of this process can be found in the struggles of Aboriginal peoples against their colonizers. Through the process of legal alienation, Aboriginal peoples lost not only their land, but their culture and self-worth. In recent years, Aboriginal peoples have attempted to reduce their social alienation through a variety of de-alienation strategies, including social, political, and legal struggles. One tactic has been land claim litigation. Therefore, through efforts to obtain legal alienation of land, Aboriginal peoples strive to reduce their social alienation and oppression.

Aboriginal women's healing lodge: Challenge to penal correctionalism?

March 1995

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12 Reads

This essay traces the development of a Healing Lodge (capacity 30) for Aboriginal women serving federal prison sentences in Canada. Representatives of Aboriginal bands across Canada shared in the planning of the Lodge, and they will operate it. Situated on Nekaneet land near Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, with no fences, locks, or bars, the Lodge has been designed to facilitate traditional First Nations healing practices. The author explores the contradiction of envisioning a spiritual sanctuary within a penal enterprise: as practiced, state correctionalism is the antithesis of the guiding philosophy of the Healing Lodge. This conundrum is articulated through the examination of a series of contextualizing events in the 1990s related to Canada's Prison for Women (P4W). These include a significant 1990 government report recommending closure of P4W, and a 1995 CBC-TV exposé of brutality against eight women at P4W, four of them Aboriginal. The brutality was committed ‘in the line’ of duty by the Emergency Response Team from the Kingston men's penitentiary. It is concluded that the Healing Lodge cannot de facto resolve the fundamental healing vs. punishment contradiction, but with vigilance it could prove to be a internal challenge to extant penal ideologies.

Is there a role for the application of customary law in addressing Aboriginal criminality in Australia
  • Article
  • Full-text available

September 1997

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321 Reads

In the past decade, there has been no shortage of empirical evidence that supports the poor health, education, and employment prospects for Aboriginal Australians. Moreover, Aboriginal people are far more likely than non-Aboriginal people to be drawn to the attention of police and taken into custody. Their presence in the criminal courts is disproportionately high and they are vastly over-represented in prison. Commission after commission and study after study have concluded that Indigenous Australians are at vastly greater risk of threat to life, victimization, and health than non-Indigenous Australians. This essay argues that there are grounds for greater recognition of Aboriginal customary law as a means of addressing the malaise. It reviews the political and legal climate in which such responses to Aboriginal criminality are currently being addressed.
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Post-motivational Progression and the Possibility of Aborting Protracted Crime

June 2009

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11 Reads

The idea for this article emerged from a cursory examination of the National Crime Victimization Survey (US Department of Justice, 1997–2004). Unbeknownst to the authors (and possibly to most of the readers) is a trend confirming that about 2/3 of all violent crimes in the United States end up as attempted crimes, as opposed to completed crimes. Equally intriguing is that international crime figures confirm, almost exactly, the US Survey statistics. If these figures are accurate, then criminologists and crime control agents should ask the question: if 2/3 of all violent crimes fail to materialize—for whatever reason—under their own weight, why cannot criminologists and crime control agents in the future develop a clinical competency that can exploit this failure and further reduce the completion rate of violent crime to technically zero? If that can be accomplished, then violent crimes can theoretically be aborted. Such a futuristic design should not be considered farfetched in light of the current advancements in today’s technology, including the military practice of laser-bombing a car speeding on the road several miles below, or the on going military testing of “shooting a missile with a missile”. This article focuses on the undiscovered, yet enormous, role of post-motivational criminology, which—when the desired clinical competency is developed—can literally change the trajectory of violent crimes and possibly abort them in progress. While this article cannot promise answers for the next decades, it can, at least, stimulate the criminological community to think beyond its traditional boundaries and to engage in quantum research consortiums that can study the dynamics of post-motivational progressions and eventually resolve why some bullets miss or can intentionally be made not to hit.

Table 1 Table 1 How governments responded to allegations of wrongdoings against heads of state
Table 1 continued
Above the Law? A Comparative Study of National Prosecutions of Heads of State

March 2011

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228 Reads

Official polices on the appropriate government response to crimes committed by a head of state are seldom dictated by strict principles of justice. Deciding whether to bring an errant leader to justice is often influenced by political expediency. Given the number of documented cases of official abuse, there is a need to understand why some governments choose to prosecute a former or sitting head of state while others do not. Yet, few studies have been done on this subject. This study reviews 52 cases of heads of state accused of crimes and explores how their own national governments responded to such accusations. Using data culled from various documentary sources, it employs a grounded theory approach to focus on the process that drives the decision to prosecute. Analysis indicates that political legitimacy, perception of threat, political stability, and degree of politicization of the military influence the decision to prosecute. The article concludes with a discussion of the significance and implications of these findings and suggestions for future research.


Figure 1. The economic exclusion model of woman abuse in cohabitation.
An Economic Exclusion/Male Peer Support Model Looks at “Wedfare” and Woman Abuse

January 2006

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173 Reads

In recent years “welfare reform” has become a vehicle for many neo-conservative social commentators to invoke marriage vows as a cure for poverty and the abuse of poor women. Their basic claim is that cohabiting relationships are not only more violent than marriages, but that married couples are happier, healthier, and wealthier than cohabiting ones. A policy then of encouraging cohabitants to marry, they claim, would lead to increased family wealth and decreased family violence. We examine these claims in this article, along with the alternative argument that marriage per se is not a solution to these problems. Alternatively we propose an economic exclusion/male peer support model that explains why many cohabiting men abuse women in intimate relationships. If forcing these couples to marry is not a solution, then structural solutions are necessary, along with progressive policy suggestions that address the antecedents of poverty and abuse.

Methodological review of ‘the incidence and prevalence of woman abuse in Canadian university and college dating relationships: Preliminary results from a national survey,’ by Walter S. DeKeseredy and Katharine Kelly

March 1993

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3 Reads

This essay reviews and assesses the methods used to conduct the National Study of Woman Abuse in University and College Dating Relationship. Funded by Health and Welfare Canada, Walter S. DeKeseredy and Katharine Kelly surveyed 1,835 females and 1,307 males in a stratified multi-stage cluster sample enrolled in University and College courses across the country in 1992. This essay examines the sampling design, reported response rates, data collection methods and frequency estimates of the study carried out by these two researchers in conjunction with the Institute for Social Research at York University. It is noted that while there are certain methodological difficulties associated with the study, these are problems that any survey of this type might encounter. The review of the methods suggests that while perfect surveys are not possible, good surveys are. The essay concludes with the observation that this survey should be qualified as the latter.


Some comments on the national survey on woman abuse in Canadian university and college dating relationships

March 1993

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12 Reads

Abuse of women in heterosexual dating is a serious social issue that must be approached from a variety of perspectives: psychological, cultural, political, legal, and empirical. In the United States, it has long been accepted that more than one student in five has had a direct personal experience with heterosexual courtship violence (see Makepeace 1981), that more than one in ten have been forced to have intercourse by a date (Kanin and Parcel11981; Koss and Oros 1982), and that men and women use violence for different purposes in dating relationships (Stets and Pirog-Good 1987).

Toward a Gendered Social Bond/Male Peer Support Theory of University Woman Abuse

January 2001

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546 Reads

Despite many calls for integratedwoman abuse theories, few have made any suchattempts. Taking as a starting point thatgender blind and conservative theories maystill have some value, Hirschi''s social bondtheory is examined with insights from feministmale peer support theory and other criticalperspectives. The goal is not a formal newtheory but rather a heuristic designed to showthe value of adding feminist insight to genderblind theory. Hirschi is turned upside downhere with an argument that attachment andinvolvement with conventional peers may in factpromulgate violence against women thecollege campuses when it is noted thatconventional institutions are patriarchal andpart of a rape culture. University groups(social fraternities, sports teams, etc.) mayenforce adherence through homophobia and grouppressure, while promoting a hypermasculineculture that encourages men to use coercion andforce to increase their count of sexualencounters.

Woman abuse in university and college dating relationships: The contribution of the ideology of familial patriarchy

March 1993

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21 Reads

Several theorists contend that male university/college students who physically, sexually, and psychologically abuse their female dating partners are more likely than men who are not abusive to adhere to the ideology of familial patriarchy. These scholars also argue that men who hold familial patriarchal attitudes and beliefs, and who are supported by their male peers, are most likely to victimize their dating partners. This research provides quantitative data from a national representative sample of Canadian male undergraduate students that support these hypotheses.



Offer and Acceptance of Apology in Victim-Offender Mediation

March 2011

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332 Reads

Past research on restorative justice (RJ) has highlighted the importance of apology for both victims and offenders and the prevalence of apology during the RJ process. The present study moves this work further by examining the nature of the apologies that are offered during victim-offender mediation, as well as the individual-, case-, and mediation-level factors that can affect the offer and acceptance of apology. In addition, we measure the implications that the offer and acceptance of apology can have on satisfaction with the mediation outcome. We conducted a content analysis of 57 records of mediations occurring between 2008 and 2010 at a UK mediation centre. Perpetrators said “I’m sorry” in over one-third of cases, and full apologies were offered in nearly one-fifth of cases. Apologies were accepted in over 90% of cases, although forgiveness was much less common. The offer of apology was most closely associated with the type of incident/offence, and number of previous mediations in a case. There was also some support for the relationship between the offer of apology and victim age, perpetrator gender, formal sanction, and the number of participants attending the mediation meeting. None of the factors studied were associated with the acceptance of apology. The offer of apology was associated with satisfaction with the mediation outcome, and in all of the cases where the apology was accepted, the victim was satisfied with the mediation outcome. The findings thus shed light on the role that apology can play in the effectiveness of RJ.

Reconstituting social order and social control: Police accountability in Canada

September 1990

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20 Reads

Despite the important role which the police play in the reproduction of social order, there is a lacuna in critical criminological literature on the policing of democratic societies. As a consequence, the mistaken impression is fostered that policing in Canada is not problematic. This paper challenges this view, documenting the extent of police malpractice and raising the question of the need for police accountability. Within this context the authors discuss three forms which police accountability has historically taken: judicial inquiry, community police monitoring groups, and consultative liaison panels. One problem which the authors note is the way in which all three models depend upon the police for information about the nature of crime and policing, making them susceptible to dominant discourses about policing. Thus they continue by discussing the left realist model as potentially a fourth model. This form of police accountability emerged in Britain during the 1980s and is characterized by the production of an alternative discourse on crime and police practices based on locally conducted and controlled victimization surveys. The extent to which this practice of police accountability might be relevant to the Canadian context remains yet to be explored. The authors note in closing, however, that this is an empirical and not a theoretical question, meaning that Canadian criminologists must become more practical and less academic in their discourses of social control.

From social event to penal fact: the process of construction of the accusation

March 1994

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10 Reads

L'auteure présente les résultats d'une étude consistant à suivre le cheminement d'une cohorte de 1792 justiciables à travers tout le processus pénal, à partir du moment où la police appréhende un suspect jusqu'à l'issue de la cause au tribunal. L'auteure allègue que dans l'étude du processus pénal, l'accusation constitue une dimension rarement examinée, prise en quelque sorte pour acquis. Ainsi, on aurait tendance à croire que la mise en accusation par la police marque la naissance d'une affaire pénale. Ce faisant, on oublie que l'accusation retenue par le policier implique nécessairement un certain nombre de décisions de sa port. Entre autres, au moment d'associer à un événement, à l'origine fait social, le libellé juridique qui en fera désormais un fait pénal, le policier choisit parmi tout un ensemble d'indices ceux qu'il juge pertinents aux fins de sa traduction en termes juridiques. La décision du policier d'associer à un événement tel libellé juridique plutôt que tel autre est d'autant plus cruciale qu'elle ne sera pas, le plus souvent, revisée. Toute lecture ultérieure de l'événement sera par conséquent teintée du résultat de cette première opération. L'auteure montre comment ce processus de construction d'une accusation n'est pas neutre. Il est à la fois déterminé (par toute une série de facteurs) et déterminant (du cheminement de la cause—et partant du suspect—dans le système pénal).

Beyond Doing No Harm: A Call for Participatory Action Research with Marginalized Populations in Criminological Research

September 2008

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287 Reads

While most social scientists agree that the outcome of research should be useful in the real world, the idea that research can, and should, be empowering and directly useful to research participants has largely been limited to the margins of a few social science disciplines. While community psychologists and critical sociologists have long embraced participatory research and co-operative inquiry approaches—where the empowerment of research participants is as important as the contribution to knowledge and policy development—criminologists have been slow to adopt more emancipatory research models except for a few notable exceptions. This essay calls for the use of participatory action research by criminologists and for us to have a dialogue about the social value of our research and our obligations to research participants beyond “simply doing no harm.”

Random Activities Theory: The Case for ‘Black Swan’ Criminology

March 2009

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1,680 Reads

In the United States, infamous crimes against innocent victims—especially children—have repeatedly been regarded as justice system “failures” and resulted in reactionary legislation enacted without regard to prospective negative consequences. This pattern in part results when ‘memorial crime control’ advocates implicitly but inappropriately apply the tenets of routine activities theory, wherein crime prevention is presumed to be achievable by hardening likely targets, increasing the costs associated with crime commission, and removing criminal opportunity. In response, the authors argue that academic and public policy discourse will benefit from the inclusion of a new criminological perspective called random activities theory, in which tragic crimes are framed as rare but statistically inevitable ‘Black Swans’ instead of justice system failures. Potential objections and implications for public policy are discussed at length.

“The Spectacle of Fearsome Acts”: Crime in the Melting P(l)ot in Gangs of New York

January 2005

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1,110 Reads

This paper explores the multi-layered representations of violence and crime in the recent Hollywood film Gangs of New York [Scorcese (2003) Miramax]. We use our exploration of this film to suggest that popular culture, even through its most mainstream products, can be seen as a critical criminological space where alternative views of law, crime and the state are made available. Rather than understanding Hollywood movies simply as vehicles for disseminating conventional mores, we suggest that they can furnish critical (and complex) points of view on law and crime and that the project of a critical criminology can be strengthened by engaging more forthrightly with these ubiquitous cultural forms.

Actuarial risk assessment: Reflections on an emerging social-scientific tool

September 2000

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25 Reads

The purpose of this paper is to highlight recent developments in the practice of empirical social research, paying particular attention to the relationship between social-science practice, social-control strategies, and the role of interpretive frame-works. The essay describes how the social-scientific emphasis on quantification within a value-neutral framework corresponds to an overall reluctance within the social sciences to evaluate the phenomena of social life within an historical and moral context. Within this framework, it is argued that actuarial risk assessment, as a social science practice, meets the managerial needs of advanced industrial societies by legitimating interpretive frameworks which focus primarily on prediction as the main criterion in understanding social processes and by producing concrete technologies which facilitate the management effort. This essay calls upon quantitative social scientists to reflect upon the ways in which our practices and products may inadvertently project value positions that ought not be promoted without critical evaluation.

Do Retributive and Restorative Justice Processes Address Different Symbolic Concerns?

March 2012

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180 Reads

In support of a unitary conceptualization of retributive justice (justice through the imposition of punishment) and restorative justice (justice through dialogue aimed at consensus), three studies using hypothetical and recalled experiences of victimization found that people’s endorsement of, and satisfaction with, either justice notion depends on the symbolic meaning of the transgression. In Study 1, perceiving the transgression as a status/power violation was uniquely related to the endorsement of retributive justice, whereas perceiving it as a violation of shared values was uniquely related to restorative justice. In Study 2, motivation to restore status/power was related to retributive responses, whereas motivation to restore value consensus with the offender was uniquely related to restorative responses. In Study 3, a scenario experiment, respondents called for greater additional sanction when the applied justice process (retributive vs. restorative) did not fit the salient meaning of the transgressions compared to when it did (status/power vs. values).

Beyond the Law: The Reagan Administration and Nicaragua

January 2009

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78 Reads

It has been the tradition of criminological research to attempt to explain the etiological and enactment patterns of crime. More often than not, the focus has remained on “street crime”; however, since the 1990s, scholars have increasingly expanded attention to causal factors of corporate crime and state crimes (see Rothe and Friedrichs 2006; Kramer and Michalowski 2005; Michalowski and Kramer 2006; Mullins and Rothe 2008; Rothe and Mullins 2006; Rothe and Mullins 2007; Rothe and Mullins 2008). The goal of this paper is to add to this literature by providing a criminological analysis of former President Ronald Reagan’s war on Nicaragua. It begins by illuminating previous criminological research on state crime including an integrated theory of violations of international criminal laws used for the analysis of the case at hand. This is followed with a descriptive account of the events that occurred during the Reagan Administration’s dirty war and concludes with an analysis of the etiological factors behind the United States’ criminality.

An administrative approach to personal safety on a university campus: The role of a president's advisory Committee on Women's Safety on Campus

March 1993

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2 Reads

Improvement of the physical environment of the campus is necessary, but not sufficient, to ensure full access for women to the University's facilities. Studies on the incidence of sexual assault and other experiences of violence with acquaintances indicate a need for programs to address the social climate of campuses. Unless both the social and physical aspects of the university environment are addressed, threats of violence can limit the accessibility of higher education and professional careers for women. UBC has established a President's Advisory Committee on Women's Safety on Campus which brings together University administrators and campus users to explore the safety concerns of women and possible solutions to these problems.

The Theory of Differential Oppression: A Developmental-ecological Explanation of Adolescent Problem Behavior

October 2003

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2,623 Reads

The developmental-ecological perspective provides a means for understanding how the oppression of children occurs within multiple social contexts that interrelate to produce harmful outcomes for children. Because children lack power due to their age, size, and lack of resources, they are easy targets for adult oppression. Children are exposed to different levels and types of oppression that vary depending on their age, level of development, socioeconomic class, race, and the beliefs and perceptions of their parents. According to the theory of differential oppression, oppression leads to adaptive reactions by children: passive acceptance, exercise of illegitimate coercive power, manipulation of one's peers, and retaliation. Reducing the oppressive acts of adults and alleviating the damaging circumstances that characterize the social environment of children is critical to reducing the prevalence of juvenile delinquency and other problem behaviors.

Table 1 . Potentially traumatic events (N = 24)
‘I Wasn’t Really Bonded with My Family’: Attachment, Loss and Violence among Adolescent Female Offenders

February 2007

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384 Reads

This study analyzes the role of trauma and disrupted attachments in the development of adolescent girls’ violent behavior. A grounded theory approach was applied to the narratives of 24 young women (age 13–16years old) who were adjudicated and remanded to custody for an assault or robbery. Three types of loss were inductively derived from the data (death of a loved one, physical absence, and psychological unavailability) as were two categories of violence (in the home and in the community). Findings suggest that extensive losses and violent experiences disrupted the young women’s attachment to their caregivers, and these experiences were disregarded or inadequately addressed. Detachment and the absence of supportive others left the young women poised to engage in a variety of maladaptive behaviors including violence. Theoretical and programmatic implications are discussed.

Youth Violence and Hegemonic Masculinity among Pacific Islander and Asian American Adolescents

May 2011

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179 Reads

As scholars and community stakeholders continue to understand hegemonic masculinity and its influences on youth violence, it is important that marginalized ethnic groups are not excluded from the discourse. This qualitative exploratory study investigates the ways that hegemonic masculinity impacts adolescent boys and girls from Pacific Islander and Asian American backgrounds. Research findings reveal how peers, family members, and romantic partners impact youths’ propensity to engage in youth violence. Findings further divulge the similar and different ways that boys and girls from these ethnic backgrounds conceptualize youth violence, with males frequently using violence to enhance their social status and females relying on violence for protection and/or to bolster their relationship with boyfriends. The study calls for improved structural relationships between schools and marginalized ethnic communities, specifically calling for enhanced programs that address healthy dating practices, homophobia, and violence associated with the body.

Advances in Critical Cultural Criminology: An Analysis of Reactions to Avant-Garde Flag Art

January 2002

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19 Reads

As a popular motif in American art, images ofthe United States flag remind citizens of the importanceof culture in promoting patriotism. Still, theprevailing aesthetic commands a dignifiedrepresentation of the Stars and Stripes,shunning political criticism and disrespect forthe nation's most cherished emblem. Amid thecontroversy over flag burning in 1989, artistDread Scott unveiled his work What is theProper Way to Display the U.S. Flag? at theSchool of the Art Institute of Chicago. In thatpiece, the U.S. flag was placed on the floor ofthe gallery, inciting enormous public outrage.As a form of interactive art, Scott invitedvisitors to record their thoughts about theflag in a ledger book furnished at the exhibit.More than 1,600 messages were transcribed inthe ledger book, thus becoming an intriguingsource of unobtrusive data. This researchexplores societal reaction to Scott's artworkthrough a content analysis of the entriescontained in the ledger book. Whileinterpreting prominent themes framing theconflict over flag desecration, this workcontributes to a critical cultural criminology.In particular, the analysis brings to theforefront the significance of power,hierarchies, and social inequality drivingcriminalization campaigns aimed at controllingavant-garde flag art and political dissent.

The Social History in Death Penalty Defense Advocacy

June 2009

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32 Reads

This article offers an epistemologically focused descriptive account of the “social history” in American death penalty defense advocacy. Under British scientific empiricism, sufficient investigation forms the basis for representations that aspire to be adequate to investigated realities. As defense advocates see it, however, the very idea of humanity resists the goal of epistemological finality that comes with empiricist adequation. I argue that the social history investigation instrumentalizes this aesthetic of investigation-then-representation, allowing advocates to affirm to themselves the humanity of their clients while sidestepping the goal of adequation.

Empowering Victim Advocates: Organizing Against Anti-gay/lesbian Violence in Canada

May 2001

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141 Reads

This article provides an account of an emancipatory, community-based response to anti-gay/lesbian violence in Canada by outlining the model developed by The 519Church Street Community Centre Anti-Violence Programme (The 519), previously known as the Victim Assistance Programme. The data for this article was obtained through participant observation over a five year period from1993–1997. The goal of this article is to document and critique the model developed at The 519 by focussing on advocacy, policing issues, education, and the production of knowledge about anti-gay/lesbian violence. While the Committee's inclusionary agenda seems to be the most strategic approach to gaining equity in services in existing institutions, contradictions arise which suggest that ruptures exist between the promise of mainstream institutional change and resistance to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer (LGBTQ) activism.



Following up on interests: The private agreement exemption in ontario securities law

September 1992

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19 Reads

This paper uses insights from cultural theories of regulation and critical legal studies to argue that regulatory outcomes are not adequately explained by the activities of dominant interest groups. A more dynamic conception of the relationship between interests and ideas, especially legal ones, is required. Discursive shifts among languages of entrepreneurship, ownership, fairness, and market credibility are shown to be consequential for the outcome of the reform debate examined, not least because of the importance of these ideas, variously interpreted, in shaping the positions of interest groups.

The Roots of Modern White-Collar Crime: Does the Modern Form of White-Collar Crime have its Foundation in the Transition from a Society Dominated by Agriculture to One Dominated by Industry?

September 2009

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2,053 Reads

The purpose of the present paper is to investigate whether the process of transition from an agricultural to an industrial society was a watershed for white-collar crime, such that this type of crime increased rapidly in connection with the industrialization process. The theoretical reasoning behind this notion is that the transition process promoted a mentality characterized by self-centered values and a culture of competitiveness, which together paved the way for fraud perpetrated at the expense of others. The data are from Statistic Sweden’s historical records and cover the period of 1864–1912. Since there is no way to measure all crimes that can be defined as white collar crime, we have used bankruptcy offences as an example of white collar crime. The results do not support the notion that the transition period from an agricultural to an industrial society showed an increase in bankruptcy offences. Instead, the results show that when fluctuations in the economy are taken into account, the industrialization process per se entailed less bankruptcy offences. On the other hand, other research using the case of Sweden has shown that it was first after World War II that bankruptcy offences increased rapidly. Our argument is that the transition process as a structural mechanism had a greater impact on bankruptcy offences when industrialized capitalism became advanced.

Toxic Atmospheres Air Pollution, Trade and the Politics of Regulation

December 2010

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57 Reads

Air is an essential ingredient for all living things and its properties influence the quality and longevity of life. When polluted, it is estimated that it causes the annual premature death of millions of people and the world-wide damage and destruction of wildlife and natural habitats. This article examines human-made air pollution within a framework of ‘eco-crime’ and Green Criminology. Using original data on air pollution infringements, it critically examines the shortcomings with existing mechanisms of air pollution control, regulation and enforcement in the UK. In doing so, it identifies how Criminology must continue to push new boundaries and engage with emerging harmful acts of both local and global concern.

Beyond Anomie: Alienation and Crime

March 2008

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5,937 Reads

This paper argues that anomie theories are aspects of the more comprehensive, but neglected theory of alienation. The dominant dimension of anomie theories (particularly Durkheim’s version) is normlessness, which is only one of five dimensions of alienation theory. A practical implication of this insight is that anomie theory relies heavily on a Durkheimian focus on the role of normlessness in guiding criminal justice policy, while the other dimensions of alienation theory-powerlessness, meaninglessness, isolation and self-estrangement—have been deemphasized or ignored. By including all dimensions of the alienation concept, an integrated theory of crime and more effective crime control strategies can be formulated.

Table 3. Multivariate analysis standardized coefficients (beta) 
The Criminalization of Aliens: Regulating Foreigners

March 2006

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165 Reads

Intergroup contact and conflict is inevitable in the context of global economic competition and geopolitical interests. Immigrant and migratory groups have particularly been subjected to unequal treatment by members of dominant host groups, generally as a means of promoting and protecting their own economic and political interests. Immigrants often serve as a dependent and secondary labor force, useful within fluctuating cycles of labor shortage, economic crises, and economic prosperity. Likewise, criminalization is one tool that perpetuates notions of “otherness,” which in turn maintains immigrant minorities as a secondary labor force; and justifies penal punishment of them. For instance, in the United States, Chicanos and Mexican immigrants have been exploited as secondary labor, and have also been more likely than many other groups to be swept up in the Criminal Justice System. Drawing on neo-Marxist perspectives and postcolonial notions of “otherness”, this paper examines the relationship between incarceration of foreigners and economic conditions, economic threat, population change, and otherness. As hypothesized, country level data suggests that factors such as a free market economy, population change, economic competition, and a concentration of immigrants in the population are related to the level of imprisonment of foreigners. Implications for further research are also discussed.

Gender, Ethnicity, and Offending over the Life Course: Women’s Pathways to Prison in the Aloha State

June 2006

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83 Reads

This paper develops what some researchers are now calling the ‘pathways’ approach to understanding women’s criminality. This perspective argues that women’s offending is an outgrowth of histories of violence, trauma, and addiction – conditioned by race, culture, gender inequality, and class. This paper expands the perspective on crime across the life course for females, providing a more nuanced analysis of the nature of intimate relationships and developmental turning points for women. Whereas men’s assumption of adult responsibilities such as marriage and childrearing may be turning points away from delinquency and crime, the matter is far more complex and may even be the inverse for some women. The paper also finds that women of Native Hawaiian ancestry have more negative experiences with education, employment, and poorer outcomes on parole compared to women without Hawaiian ancestry, thus contributing to the literature on the relationship between ethnicity, structure, and offending over the life course.

‘AlterNative’ approaches to criminal justice: John Braithwaite’s theory of reintegrative shaming revisited

September 1997

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240 Reads

Conservative crime control measures, such as incarceration, capital punishment, and boot camps, have done little, if anything, to prevent and control crime in North America and elsewhere. What, then, is to be done? Like other progressive criminologists, I contend that we need to radically rethink the administration of justice and seek insight from First Nations societies and communities that rely on informal means of resolving a wide range of conflicts. The main objective of this essay is to demonstrate that such ‘AlterNative’ social control strategies are more effective and humane means of curbing crime and achieving social justice. The progressive initiatives proposed here are heavily informed by the Inuit model of restorative justice and John Braitwaite’s theory of reintegrative shaming. These have the potential to alleviate much pain and suffering caused by crime and other symptoms of structured social inequality.

Critical criminology, social justice, and an alternative view of incarceration

September 1996

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91 Reads

Despite its lack of general popularity, critical criminology continues to offer compelling criticism of the dominant paradigm of criminal justice. In this essay, critical criminology is presented along with its principal assertions, theoretical assumptions, and implications for social reform and criminal justice. The author argues that critical criminology provides a valuable theoretical backdrop for the analysis of incarceration, particularly its emergence as a form of local industry. Other developments pertinent to the political economy are also discussed, especially as they pertain to the shaping of patterns of unemployment and imprisonment.

Deforestation Crimes and Conflicts in the Amazon

December 2010

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3,222 Reads

This article explores and explains deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. It primarily takes a green criminological perspective and looks at the harm that is inflicted on many of the Amazon’s inhabitants, including indigenous populations such as ‘uncontacted’ tribes of hunters-gatherers, the oldest human societies. The green criminological perspective also implies that the definition of victimisation is being enlarged: not only (future) humans, but also non-humans can be considered victims. Being the most biodiverse place on the planet, deforestation of the Amazon leads to threats and extinctions of animal and plant species. The main causes of deforestation in the Amazon are land conversion for agriculture (mainly cattle, also soy), practices that are mostly illegal. As the products of the (illegally) deforested rainforest in the Brazilian Amazon are mainly for export markets, western societies with large ecological footprints could be held responsible for deforestation of the Amazon.

Deciphering the Ambiguous Menace of Sexuality for the Innocence of Childhood

March 2011

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584 Reads

This article examines how late modern Western society/culture deals with the utterly despised phenomenon of paedophilia. It will be argued there are ambiguous factors and forces, which are an inherent part of mainstream culture and the wider social fabric, that make an unequivocal stand against sexuality interfering with children somewhat hypocritical. The zealous efforts in battling sexual child molesters as the primordial danger for the innocence of childhood are seen as a strategy for overt redemption. A hidden agenda is detected by recovering complicit support from a diverse range of adjacent sources that defies the genuineness of guarding the sexual innocence of children.


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