The politics and ethics of knowledge production about crime

References and Links to Papers

2022

Drug Violence, War-Crime Distinction, and Hierarchies of Victimhood

Issues related to victimhood are central to transitional justice and international criminal justice. However, processes of transitional justice do not usually include victims of drug-related violence, despite the fact that in several Latin American countries deaths caused by cartel violence easily meet criteria of civil war. This article's central argument is that distinctions between victims of war and victims of what is often termed conventional crime are of great importance to notions of legitimate victimhood in transitional contexts. Taking Colombia's Victims’ Law (2011) as a case study, we argue that the binary distinction between war and crime fails to address the needs of victims of mass drug violence and creates a hierarchy among victims. This has important symbolic, legal and material implications for those who find themselves in the less favoured category. Victims of drug related violence struggle to access justice and to make their voices heard in public discourses about violence. We argue that the current understanding of mass drug violence as ‘conventional crime’ represents a Northern perspective on violence, which can be counter-productive when used uncritically in Southern contexts.

2021

“Southern Criminologies: Methods, Theories and Indigenous Issues”

Our motivation behind drawing critical attention to both the successes and shortcomings of the most recent—but not the first—proposal for the “southernizing” of criminology comes from our belief in the academic and social importance of decolonizing criminology, and our hope that it is possible to make this project a more solid and influential academic initiative.

2019

Criminologies of the Global South: Critical Reflections

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.

2017

Green Criminology Before ‘Green Criminology’: Amnesia and Absences

Although the first published use of the term ‘green criminology’ seems to have been made by Lynch (Green criminology. Aldershot, Hampshire, 1990/2006), elements of the analysis and critique represented by the term were established well before this date. There is much criminological engagement with, and analysis of, environmental crime and harm that occurred prior to 1990 that deserves acknowledgement. In this article, we try to illuminate some of the antecedents of green criminology. Proceeding in this way allows us to learn from ‘absences’, i.e. knowledge that existed but has been forgotten. We conclude by referring to green criminology not as an exclusionary label or barrier but as a symbol that guides and inspires the direction of research.

2016

Green activist criminology and the epistemologies of the South

Since its inception, green criminology has attempted to highlight instances of environmental degradation and destruction, as well as examine and analyse the causes thereof and contemplate the responses thereto. Efforts to reduce environmental crime and curb environmental harm, more generally, have not gone unimpeded, however. Activists around the world are being killed in record numbers trying to defend their land and protect the environment. In this article, I consider the role of socially engaged scholars who reject the idea or ideology of ‘neutral scientists’ in light of the risks faced by environmental defenders. As such, this article replies to the claims that activism and the production of knowledge must be clearly separated. To do so, this article draws upon examples from Latin America to underscore the importance of an ‘activist criminology’ (Belknap in Criminology 53(1):1–22. doi:10.1111/1745-9125.120632015) attuned to environmental harms and injustices perpetrated on those seeking to prevent the despoliation of the Earth.