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Comparative Criminology in Asia



This edited volume presents the diversity of comparative criminology research in Asia, and the complex theoretical and methodological issues involved in conducting comparative research. With contributors both from the West and the East exploring these questions, the Editors have created a balanced resource, as well as set an agenda for future research. The increasing pace of globalization means that researchers should be armed with an understanding of how criminal justice systems work across the world. In the past, comparative research largely compared Western countries to each other, or involved researchers from a Western perspective examining an Asian country, with models and theories developed in the West considered to have universal applications. This work aims to correct that gap, by providing a critical examination of comparative research, presenting quantitative and qualitative research data, and asking new questions that challenge prevailing research norms and p rovide an agenda for future research. This work will be of interest for researchers across the field of Criminology, particularly those with an interest in International and Comparative Research, research on or about Asia, and related disciplines such as Sociology, Demography, and Social Policy.
ISBN 978-3-319-54941-5
JianhongLiu· MaxTravers
LennonChang Editors
in Asia
Comparative Criminology in Asia
Liu · Travers · Chang Eds.
JianhongLiu· MaxTravers· LennonChang Editors
Comparative Criminology in Asia
is edited volume presents the diversity of comparative criminology research in
Asia, and the complex theoretical and methodological issues involved in conducting
comparative research. With contributors both from the West and the East exploring
these questions, the Editors have created a balanced resource, as well as set an agenda
for future research.
e increasing pace of globalization means that researchers should be armed with
an understanding of how criminal justice systems work across the world. In the past,
comparative research largely compared Western countries to each other, or involved
researchers from a Western perspective examining an Asian country, with models and
theories developed in the West considered to have universal applications.  is work
aims to correct that gap, by providing a critical examination of comparative research,
presenting quantitative and qualitative research data, and asking new questions that
challenge prevailing research norms and provide an agenda for future research.  is
work will be of interest for researchers across the  eld of Criminology, particularly those
with an interest in International and Comparative Research, research on or about Asia,
and related disciplines such as Sociology, Demography, and Social Policy.
Social Sciences / Criminology
9 783319 549415

Chapters (12)

This chapter summarizes and reviews ideas developed by Jianhong Liu over a number of years. It draws on the 2009 paper in which he set out an agenda for Asian criminologists after becoming editor-in-chief of the Asian Journal of Criminology. It also draws on two recent papers, one to be published in a collection on Southern criminology and another on access to justice published in the Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice. Liu’s work has been concerned with identifying distinctive features of crime and criminal justice in Asian countries. He has variously termed this approach the ‘Asian paradigm’ and the ‘relational approach’ which is contrasted with Western individualism.
A central issue for Asian criminologists is whether there are distinctive patterns of offending in Asian countries and, if so, how these can be explained by distinctive social institutions and cultural values. This chapter contrasts two approaches to investigating this problem. Quantitative criminologists, drawing on the ideas of Emile Durkheim, seek to develop a cross-cultural theory or global criminology (Karstedt 2001) that explains international variation. Interpretivists, influenced by Max Weber, look at how intellectuals and criminal justice professionals in different countries construct and use their own theories about crime (Nelken 2010). Three sources of information are considered: the 1990s Asian values debate; cultural nationalism in China; and how some criminologists in Japan, South Korea and China view the crime problem.
This abridgement from Chap. 2 in Mike McConville and Eva Pils’ edited collection Comparative Criminal Justice in China (2005) compares the criminal justice systems in the United Kingdom and China and their relationship to the state. Although the law promises equal justice in liberal democracies, there are tendencies towards illicit behaviour both in responses to everyday cases and at times of crisis. In China, the rule of law as an ideal is secondary to the demands of the Party-state and a mechanism that supports state power. The chapter looks at the role of the police, prosecutors, courts and defence lawyers in each country, focusing on how the criminal justice system achieves legitimacy.
At present most theories about criminology have come from the English-speaking countries of the global north where most journals and universities are located. This global social organisation of knowledge has created a hegemony of thought based largely on the experiences of these ‘first world’ ‘Western’ societies. Hence criminological theories developed in the English countries of the global North have tended to simply assume a transnational generalisability and transferability (Bowling, B. (2011). Transnational criminology and the globalisation of harm production. In M. Bosworth & C. Hoyle (Eds.), What is Criminology? (pp. 361–379). Oxford: Oxford University Press:363). Where criminology has taken root in the global South, and outside English-speaking contexts, it has tended to simply borrow and adapt these metropolitan theories (Connell, Feminist Studies 40(3):518–538, 2014:522). Yet, as Connell reminds us, theory, research agendas and innovations can be generated from the specific experiences of the global South, and Northern thinking can be cross-fertilised by it in a way that enhances the global epistemology (Connell, Feminist Studies 40(3):518–538, 2014). This chapter argues that Asian Criminology is playing a vitally important role in the creation of Southern epistemologies which will aid the democratisation and transnationalisation of criminological theory and research.
This paper considers the ways in which established criminological theories born and nurtured in the West might need to be transformed to be applicable to the context of East Asian societies. The analyses focus on two theoretical perspectives—Situational Action Theory and Institutional Anomie Theory—that are located at opposite ends of the continuum with respect to levels of analysis. I argue that the accumulated evidence from cross-cultural psychology and criminological research in East Asian societies raises serious questions about the feasibility of simply transporting these perspectives from the West to the East. Instead, my analyses suggest that the formulation of theoretical explanations of crime that are truly universal will require criminologists to create and incorporate new concepts that are more faithful to the social realities of non-Western societies, societies such as those in East Asia and Asia more generally.
Empirical research in South Korea was largely focused on differential association theory and social learning theory before 1989 but, since the 1990s, studies have increasingly been located within the theoretical traditions of social control and self-control. This chapter reviews how these theories have been applied and tested in the Korean context. This research program has sought to achieve methodologically sound research by adopting a probability model in sampling and systematically examining variables from different theories. The most recent studies have attempted to include culture as a variable. It is hoped that institutional support for scientific criminology, through the Korean Institute of Criminology, will make it possible to test this “generative approach” to comparative criminology.
This chapter is a reflection on the difficulties of conducting criminological research in rural India. It tells the story of two periods of ethnographic fieldwork (1999 and 2002) conducted in one North Indian village (pseudonym: Nagaria). This chapter is written in the ‘tales from the field’ narrative tradition, relying primarily on my own fieldwork experience and later reflections, and intentionally making little reference to the methodological literature. Much of the chapter – particularly the fieldwork extracts – is written in the ‘ethnographic present’. A dramaturgical approach is adopted (Goffman (1959) The presentation of self in everyday life. Harmondsworth: Penguin), with a focus on the ways in which social interaction may be understood as performance. Theatrical terminology is used to underscore the ways in which field relationships may be stage managed. Contrary to conventional notions of the power of the researcher, in this tale from the field, it becomes clear that the superior acting skills of gatekeepers and key informants led to the upstaging of this ethnographer.
Young offenders’ views of the criminal justice system or of why young people desist from crime are rarely sought by policy makers and practitioners the world over. This chapter draws on a recent study of young offenders’ and ex-offenders’ views and experiences of desistance from crime undertaken within Japan, and draws comparisons with a similar study undertaken in Scotland. The focus of the chapter is young offenders’ responses to questions as to why and how young people desist from crime. The chapter prioritises their verbatim answers to these questions and, in comparing the responses between Japanese and Scottish young people, it concludes that despite concerns amongst criminologists about crime and desistance having different aetiologies within Eastern and Western cultures, young people in both Japan and Scotland have remarkably similar views. This consistency is perhaps based on young people’s universal status as ‘in transition’ and potentially marginalised as a result, rather than on any country-specific status as ‘young people in trouble’.
This chapter examines the trends in and challenges of cybercrime in the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) region. Although the ASEAN region is an emerging cybercrime market, there is limited research on cybercrime in ASEAN. What are the trends in and challenges of cybercrime in ASEAN? Is the current Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime appropriate for ASEAN? What are the challenges faced by ASEAN countries when collaborating internationally against cybercrime? This chapter aims to answer these questions and to consider whether the strategies developed in the global north are relevant to ASEAN. This chapter will provide an overview of cybercrime trends in ASEAN, assess current measures adopted by ASEAN countries in combatting cybercrime, and make policy recommendations to strengthen those measures.
This chapter considers the relationship between traditional practices of resolving criminal cases through settling disputes that are widely approved in East Asian countries, and the practice of modern restorative justice. The chapter describes long-established practices of “Jidan” in Japan, “Si Liao” in China and “comforting the victim” in South Korea that involve out-of-court settlement as part of the criminal justice process. However, no one, at least in Japan, would interpret these practices as those of restorative justice. Contemporary Western initiatives include the family group conference based on the cultures of the Maori in New Zealand and the sentencing circle based on community practices among indigenous people in Northern Canada. How disputes are settled in different countries, and the history of these processes, is an important area of research for legal anthropologists.
Singapore and Thailand, two nations within the same political and geographical grouping (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), have both utilised the death penalty in murder, drug trafficking and security cases over the past 40 years. Both nations have executed prisoners frequently enough never to have been reclassified from ‘actively retentionist’ states to ‘abolitionist de facto’ states since 1975. However, despite these similarities in death penalty practice, one point of difference is particularly striking. For finalised capital cases (where prisoners have exhausted available judicial remedies), the proportion of death row prisoners granted clemency or pardon, rather than being executed, stands at around 1% for Singapore and over 90% for Thailand, during the 40-year period 1975–2014. Why this remarkable difference, with one jurisdiction seemingly viewing clemency as an extraordinary remedy only to be afforded to a prisoner in the rarest circumstances, while the other jurisdiction’s executive instead endorses clemency as the expected, routine outcome in death penalty cases? In this chapter, the author combines theoretically plausible explanations with local observations to explain why such a marked discrepancy in clemency practices may exist, and to which structural or cultural features of the Singaporean and Thai societies it can be traced.
This chapter reflects on themes developed in Comparative Criminology in Asia. It considers the practical and political character of asking comparative questions, and the theoretical traditions that inform comparative research. The chapter also summarizes a study by Setsuo Miyawaza that examines the reception of Asian research in mainstream Western criminology journals. This indicates that research about relatively few Asian countries, particularly China, reaches an audience in Western countries. The chapter ends with some optimistic thoughts on how Asian criminology might develop theories that recognize and address distinctive values, institutions, and practices in Asian countries.
... The world has well and truly entered the field of technology and its digital age, where this technology that has covered all stages and endings and forms of life is constantly presented and our main purpose is the positive use of this technology, contrary technology has facilitated our daily lives, but it has also given contributions and solutions to resist terrorist activities and electronic crimes. Specifically, this occurs as a result of technological advancements all around the world [3], [4]. According to information security experts, many crimes are committed over the Internet. ...
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WhatsApp application is considered the largest messaging application around the world and an important source of information, they just incorporated a new technique that operates on end-to-end encryption, which presents a significant problem for forensic investigators and analysts. This study describes how to recover the encryption key from WhatsApp to decrypt WhatsApp databases and retrieve important artifacts displayed and saved in the Android system without rooting the device. As a means of presenting and analyzing artifacts taken from the most recent version of WhatsApp to signs of fresh and important evidence and artifacts to assist investigators and forensic analysts in the investigation. As a result, various techniques, devices, and software may now be utilized for WhatsApp digital forensics. The findings of this study showed a variety of artifacts in the internal memory unit utilized by the Android system for the WhatsApp application, which might aid digital forensic examiners in their examination of WhatsApp on the Android system without the need to root the device.
... This is reflected in the emergence of a major body of thought focused on shifting thinking and developments emanating from the 'Global South', from the 'periphery' and the 'semi-periphery' (Lee & Laidler, 2013;Medina, 2011;Moosavi, 2019), to the centre of the criminological stage. These have included: a 'counter-colonial criminology' (Agozino, 2003(Agozino, , 2020Kitossa, 2012); a 'neo-colonial' criminology (Deckert, 2014); an 'indigenous' criminology (Cunneen & Tauri, 2016;Tauri, 2017); a 'southern' criminology and a 'green southern' criminology (Carrington, Hogg & Sozzo, 2016;Carrington et al., 2018, Carrington, Dixon, criminology (Cunneen, 2011;Medina, 2011); along with more regionally-based criminologies, such as Asian (Lee & Laidler, 2013;Liu, 2009, Liu et al., 2013Liu, 2017;Liu et al., 2017), African (Alemika, 2020;Chukwuma, 2011;Dixon, 2001;Dixon, 2004;Ebbe, 2011;van Zyl Smit, 1999), Latin American (Del Olmo, 1999;Escobar, 2011;Heskia, 2011;Juarez & Solares, 2011;Rodrigues, 2011;Schulte-Bockholt, 2012), as well as a criminology of the Arab world (Ouassini & Ouassini, 2020). ...
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The 40th Anniversary Edition of Taylor, Walton and Young’s New Criminology, published in 2013, opened with these words: ‘The New Criminology was written at a particular time and place, it was a product of 1968 and its aftermath; a world turned upside down’. We are at a similar moment today. Several developments have been, and are turning, our 21st century world upside down. Among the most profound has been the emergence of a new earth, that the ‘Anthropocene’ references, and ‘cyberspace’, a term first used in the 1960s, which James Lovelock has recently termed a ‘Novacene’, a world that includes both human and artificial intelligences. We live today on an earth that is proving to be very different to the Holocene earth, our home for the past 12,000 years. To appreciate the Novacene one need only think of our ‘smart’ phones. This world constitutes a novel domain of existence that Castells has conceived of as a terrain of ‘material arrangements that allow for simultaneity of social practices without territorial contiguity’ – a world of sprawling material infrastructures, that has enabled a ‘space of flows’, through which massive amounts of information travel. Like the Anthropocene, the Novacene has brought with it novel ‘harmscapes’, for example, attacks on energy systems. In this paper, we consider how criminology has responded to these harmscapes brought on by these new worlds. We identify ‘lines of flight’ that are emerging, as these challenges are being met by criminological thinkers who are developing the conceptual trajectories that are shaping 21st century criminologies.
... Under the guise of comparative criminology, "general theories" of crime causation were "tested" against low crime rate societies in Asia (Leavitt 1990;Liu 2009;Mattei 2006;Nelken 2010;Reimann and Zimmerman 2006). In general, comparative criminology has tended to construct the practices and institutions of crime and justice in the Global North as the benchmark from which to measure or compare others-a troubling development given that many such comparative studies have been conducted mainly by researchers from the wealthier countries of the English-speaking Global North (Liu 2009;Liu et al. 2017). Leon Moosavi (2018: 1) refers to this approach as the "westernization of criminology" and argues that this has happened, not because non-Western criminologies and scholarship have not existed, but because such work has been ignored. ...
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This article attempts an ambitious undertaking by scholars collaborating from far flung parts of the globe to redefine the geographic and conceptual limits of critical criminology. We attempt to scope, albeit briefly, the various contributions to criminology (not all of it critical) from Argentina, Asia, Brazil, Colombia, and South Africa. Our aim is not to criticize the significant contributions to critical criminology by scholars from the Global North, but to southernize critical criminology—to extend its gaze and horizons beyond the North Atlantic world. The decolonization, democratization and globalization of knowledge is a profoundly important project in an unequal and divided world where knowledge systems have been dominated by Anglophone countries of the Global North (Ball 2019; Connell 2007). Southernizing fields of knowledge represents an important step in the journey toward cognitive justice as imagined by de Sousa Santos (2014). While we can make only a very small contribution from a selected number of countries from the Global South, it is our hope that others may be inspired to join the journey, fill in the gaps, and bridge global divides.
Academic criminology originated in Western countries, primarily in Europe and in the USA. It has achieved great success, produced many influential theories, sophisticated methodology, academic institutions, and effective policy products, and has formed a productive paradigm, which has led to a flourishing discipline. However, as there have been growing critiques against “Western-centric” criminology, growing attention has turned to non-Western criminology. As Belknap has said, “We are in an exciting time in criminology, as the scholarship is becoming more global, collaborative, and interdisciplinary.” This paper addresses several important disciplinary questions: the relationship between Western and non-Western criminology, the strategies of developing criminology under non-Western contexts, the relationship between context-dependent findings from the non-West and the scientific traditions that seek unified human knowledge of criminology. The article suggests a strategy for developing non-Western criminology based on the experience of the successful growth of Asian criminology over the past decade under the concept of an “Asian criminological paradigm.”
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Like most criminological research, much of the research on hacking has predominantly focused upon the Northern Metropolis. As a result, there is a lack of focus on cybercrime within the Global South, particularly on illegal intrusions into computer systems, more colloquially known as hacking. This article provides a critical overview of hacking in the Global South, highlighting the role of strain in this offending behaviour. In particular, the authors note the role of Australian, American, and Taiwanese immigration policies that act to block offenders’ transitions from illicit hacking to legitimate employment in technological hubs outside of the Global South. To address these blocked opportunities, this article suggests the use of innovative justice paradigms, particularly restorative justice and regulatory self-enforcement, that respond to innovation-based cybercrime while also facilitating offender movement into “white hat” employment, even in cases of technology-facilitated sexual violence.
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Mainstream criminology has been mainly developed in the US and other English-speaking countries. With an expansion of criminology outside the English-speaking world, several scholars have started to cast doubts on the applicability of current mainstream criminology in their regions because it has failed to account for cultural differences. This question has led to a call for an "indigenized" criminology, in which knowledge and discourses are derived from or fixed to align with unique cultural contexts in each region. In this vein, Liu (2009; 2016; 2017a; 2017b) has proposed Asian Criminology. While it has significantly contributed to the development of criminology in Asia, we see two challenges in Liu's Asian Criminology: lack of consideration for cultural diversity within Asia and its focus on the individualism-collectivism continuum. We propose an alternative approach to developing criminology in Asia, which we call culture-inclusive criminology. It builds on a premise that Asia consists of a variety of cultural zones, and therefore calls for a shift from the Euro-American view on culture towards an understanding of culture in its context. Its goal is to develop indigenized criminologies in each cultural zone of Asia under an umbrella of culture-inclusive criminology.
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This paper assesses and synthesizes the cumulative results from the empirical research on social disorganization and crime-related phenomena at the neighborhood level in China. Our review identified 17 relevant quantitative, qualitative, and mixed method studies published in journals and books from the late-1990s to date. Our goal is to take stock of the cumulative knowledge to inspire future research in China, thereby advancing social disorganization theory. We synthesize the main findings about the effects of structural factors and intervening mechanisms from quantitative studies, summarize briefly conclusions from qualitative and mixed methods research to crosscheck our synthesis, and identify methodological and theoretical limitations. Our conclusions point to promising directions for future research with special attention to prospects for theory development through comparative criminological inquiry.
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Like all other social sciences, criminology is characterized by an ethnocentrism that often excludes non-Western scholarship. 'Asian criminology' and 'Southern criminology' are relatively new paradigms that seek to rectify this by problematizing criminological knowledge production and incorporating marginalized perspectives. Despite both projects sharing commonalities, they have not been comprehensively discussed alongside each another. This article offers a robust yet 'friendly' critique of both paradigms in order to overcome the lack of theoretical interrogation that they have faced. It is argued that Asian criminology and Southern criminology could 'decolonize criminology' if they are able to overcome the specific limitations that are identified within this article.
Contemporary issues of global significance for criminology include transnational crimes and relative inequality. To equip higher education students to become global citizens who can contribute to solutions, internationalisation of the curriculum is essential. This paper documents the process of a first cycle of internationalisation of the criminology curriculum. As an emerging paradigm, southern criminology provides direction for the process. The paper critically reflects on the institutional and disciplinary contexts at an Australian university. It evaluates the extent to which the materials for a core theory unit reflect an internationalised curriculum and outlines next steps to be undertaken. This documented process highlights southern criminology as a valuable lens through which to identify knowledge gaps and plan personalised professional development. It acknowledges the need to engage in ongoing cycles of internationalisation and make improvements in response to new resources and knowledge. The paper invites further discussion and examples of approaches to internationalisation.
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