Theoretical Criminology

Sage Publications, Inc.
Publication date:

Latest documents

  • ‘Mobilizing’ prisoner reentry research: Halfway houses and the spatial-temporal dynamics of prison release

    To date, prisoner reentry has been treated as a generic process—that is, people ‘reenter,’ without much specification regarding when and/or where this ‘reentry’ occurs. Drawing on in-depth interviews with halfway house residents in a north-western Canadian city, this article seeks to unpack the concept of prisoner reentry by exploring its spatial-temporal dimensions. I conceptualize prisoner reentry as a temporally fragmented sometimes piecemeal process that occurs across time as well as different locales, including neighbourhoods, cities, and sometimes even provinces. I do this by analyzing reentry through the lens of mobilities. Specifically, I argue that reentry via halfway houses produces mobilities that are experienced by former prisoners as simultaneously disciplining and productive of their future. In this context, I highlight the importance of paying attention to ex-prisoners’ conceptions of their future, including when and where they imagine that they will enact different aspects of their reintegration.

  • Book review: Simon Mackenzie, Transnational Criminology: Trafficking and Global Criminal Markets
  • The anatomy of police legitimacy: Dialogue, power and procedural justice

    In a series of recent influential papers, Anthony Bottoms and Justice Tankebe make the case for a ‘dialogic model’ of police legitimacy, wherein legitimacy is envisaged as emergent in a process through which the police, as power-holders, make claims to authority which are, in turn, responded to by audiences. Our aim in this article is to analyse this model. We argue that while it has the potential to direct legitimacy research along paths hitherto poorly explored, there is a need for conceptual refinement and development in three key respects. First, through recognition of micro- and meso-levels of legitimation. Second, acknowledgement that police claims-making is contingent on the authorization and endorsement of other actors. Third, a fuller consideration of the qualified role of dialogue—i.e. communication between police and policed—in public audiences’ legitimacy assessments. In the spirit of critical engagement and conceptual exploration, this article develops these three insights to propose a modified version of the dialogic model.

  • Book review: Andrea Leverentz, Elsa Y Chen and Johnna Christian (eds), Beyond Recidivism: New Approaches to Research on Prisoner Reentry and Reintegration
  • Book review: Brendan Marsh, The Logic of Violence: An Ethnography of Dublin’s Illegal Drug Trade
  • Persuasion architectures: Consumer spaces, affective engineering and (criminal) harm

    Drawing together recent theoretical work from both within and beyond criminology, this article considers the role of strategically designed consumer spaces in eliciting potentially criminogenic and harmful dispositions and behaviours. First, the article introduces recent work in cultural geography and urban studies, which has drawn attention to the manipulation of affect through spatial design. Second, by way of example, the article considers how such strategies are deployed in three types of consumer environments: shopping malls and retail spaces; casinos and other gambling environments; and the so-called night time economy. Third, the article engages such developments theoretically. It is suggested we rethink the distinctions and interrelationships between human subjectivity and agency and the built environment. The implications of this proposed conceptual reorientation are explored—first, for our understandings of agency, intentionality, moral responsibility and political accountability; and second, for criminological thinking around embodied difference, power and exclusion.

  • “You’re still an angry man”: Parole boards and logics of criminalized masculinity

    Scholars have theorized “criminalized masculinity” as performances of criminalized men. We refigure the concept to identify narratives that facilitate and legitimize control of criminalized populations. Drawing on 109 California parole hearings, we show how parole commissioners use logics of deserving and dangerous masculinity to assert a boundary between men deemed ready for social reintegration and men relegated to captivity. Commissioners articulate criminalized masculinity along three dimensions: relationship to self; relationship to male peers; and relationship to subordinate others like women and children. These gender logics are materially significant because they justify parole grants and denials. Symbolically, narratives of masculinity legitimize the prison’s work of racialized social exclusion and obscure structural dynamics of punishment under accounts of individual difference.

  • Conceptualizing the effects of imprisonment on families: Collateral consequences, secondary punishment, or symbiotic harms?

    This article explores how we might best understand the effects of imprisonment on families and why this is important to a full understanding of prison as a form of punishment. The effects on families have broadly been understood within previous literature in one of two ways: either as ‘collateral consequences’, or as a form of secondary punishment extended to the family member. We suggest that the first of these descriptions is at best insufficient and at worst subordinating and marginalizing, while the second is inaccurate when family members have not committed an offence. We offer instead the concept of ‘symbiotic harms’ which we define as negative effects that flow both ways through the interdependencies of intimate associations such as kin relationships. The characteristics of these harms can be more fully described by a term which encompasses their relational, mutual, non-linear, agentic, and heterogeneous properties.

  • Normalizing extreme imprisonment: The case of life without parole in California (1972–2012)

    This article offers a new theory of how extreme forms of imprisonment become normalized, using the development of life without parole (LWOP) in the Californian death penalty context over 40 years as an example. Normalization here refers to a punishment’s acceptability to the public, that is, what people think about severity. While this may be an empirical question that would take polling, this article proposes a theoretical model to explore how something like this might happen. The analysis builds on a literature that exposes how reforms can have perverse consequences on the punitive policies they mean to alter. These works however overlook reformers’ key role in shaping perceptions of severity and determining a punishment’s acceptability. To begin addressing this gap, this article draws on three concepts—visibility, denial and routinization—from theories on social acceptability to lay out a model by which reformers induce perceptions about severity. The article then applies the framework to a case study to show how the rhetoric, tactics and content privileged by specific actors produce normalizing mechanisms. Anti-death-penalty activists in California have contributed, this article argues, to making LWOP acceptable. This finding illuminates how extreme forms of imprisonment like LWOP can be normalized, in particular when set to replace something perceived to be more severe like the death penalty. It also enriches knowledge on the significant links between LWOP and anti-death-penalty activism. The novel frame finally has empirical, theoretical and policy purchase for extreme forms of imprisonment more generally.

  • Charting the place of islands in criminology: On isolation, integration and insularity

    In this article, we seek to chart the place of islands in criminology with respect to both their place- and space-based attributes. We explore the possibilities of island criminology through the case of Pitcairn Island, which in 2004 formed the backdrop for a series of sensational sexual assault trials. The trials thrust the Island, its people, history and customs into the international spotlight, acting as a counter-narrative to the popular mythology of islands as idyllic paradises. This case study provides us with an opportunity to re-examine how fundamental concepts for understanding crime and regulation, such as social integration, community and belonging, and exclusion are practised in the often closed and bounded networks of island ecologies.

Featured documents

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT