Addiction & Choice: Rethinking the Relationship Nick Heather and Gabriel Segal (Eds.). Oxford: Oxford University Press (2016) 528pp. £54.99hb ISBN 9780198727224

AuthorRichard Lynch
Publication Date01 December 2017
The Howard Journal Vol56 No 4. December 2017 DOI: 10.1111/hojo.12233
ISSN 2059-1098, pp. 554–563
Book Reviews
Queer Criminology (New Directions in Critical Criminology) C. Buist and E. Lenning.
London: Routledge (2016) 144pp. £100.00hb ISBN 9781138824362
Criminology and Queer Theory: Dangerous Bedfellows? (Critical Criminological Perspectives)
M. Ball. London: Macmillan (2016) 262pp. 94.94hb ISBN 978-1-137-45328-0
Queer Criminology and Criminology and Queer Theory present two different visions of queer
criminology. Buist and Lenning offer a short manifesto positioning queer criminology
as empirical, activist and concerned with LGBTQI issues, even if their vision is mostly
focused on the USA. Ball offers an abstract discussion of the ways that queer theory
and some criminological perspectives might align. Both start with definitions. Buist and
Lenning define queer criminology as ‘a theoretical and practical approach that seeks
to highlight . .. the stigmatization, the criminalization and in many ways the rejection
of the Queer community, which is to say the LGBTQ (lesbians, gay, bisexual, transgen-
der and queer) population as both victims and offenders by academe and the criminal
legal system’ (p.1). They recognise that there are problems with the catchall nature
of the LGBTQ label. Ball defines LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer,
and intersex) as those communities and people who are ‘positioned outside normative
frameworks relating to sexuality and/or gender, specifically heteronormativity and gen-
der binaries’ (p.3, footnote 1) and opines that queer criminology ought to be more than
merely the inclusion of LGBTQI experience into knowledge about criminal justice. Bor-
rowing from queer theory, Ball states that ‘“queer” can also be used as a verb, to denote
a position or attitude’ (p.6) of constant disruption and deconstruction of knowledge. I
will return to the issue of definition later for it seems to me that these definitions of a
queer criminology raise profound sociological and political issues that neither book fully
Queer Criminology follows in the tradition of expos´
e reportage. It catalogues some of
the truly regressive ways that LGBTQ people are treated in the USA and abroad in
the name of justice. The authors spend time describing the invisibility of the LGBTQ
experience or the terrifying, brutalising, and very unjust, manner that LGBTQ people
are treated within systems of justice. They discuss the criminalisation of queer sexualities,
paying particular attention to countries that continue in this way. They describe how
(largely US) policing ‘fails’ LGBTQ people of all ages – drawing parallels between the
#blacklivesmatter and the #blacktranslivesmatter movements; the latter highlighting
that the murders of black trans people in the USA go almost completely undetected. They
suggest that anti-LGBTQ discriminatory practices within many American police forces
produce challenges for LGBTQ officers, which, in turn, produce legitimacy problems
with the ways in which queer populations are policed. The theme here is familiar –
those defined as sexual Others are over-policed in relation to the crimes they commit
and under-protected in relation to crimes committed against them. Buist and Lenning
claim that courts fail to protect or represent LGBTQ people adequately. They note the
use of homophobic language in court, or the way non-LGBTQ defendants will make
false allegations of sexual impropriety against their LGBTQ victims for the purposes
of mitigation. Buist and Lenning argue that LGBTQ people in prison in the USA are
2017 The Howard League and John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK

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