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Posts tagged: conference

European Society of Criminology Annual Conference, Cardiff

22 September 2017

Between 13th and 16th September 2017, Cardiff, Wales, I attended the European Society of Criminology Annual Conference (affectionately known as ‘EuroCrim’). There I presented a paper written with my colleague, Dr Anthony Ellis, titled: ‘Far Right attractions in the post-race place? Narratives from a de-industrialised community in the UK’. Using data collected from an ethnographic pilot study in Rotherham (UK), the paper engaged with the recent resurgence of political views and sentiments traditionally associated with the Far Right in de-industrialised communities. It discussed the socio-political foundations offered by residents in their move towards newer emerging Far Right groups, which were not only anchored in what Ellis refers to as the devastating collapse of working class cultural life, but as Patel argues, are also underpinned by the continued use of a racialized narrative about space, place and rights. This is the case despite wider claims of living in a ‘post-race’ society.

EuroCrim was everything a good conference should be. It was engaging, informative and critical – all in the right measures. There were over 1,200 delegates in attendance, with papers covering all areas of criminology: including, sexual violence, cybercrime, corporate crime, environmental crime, as well as the expected areas of prisons, punishment, policing, and youth justice. There were plenaries from high profile Criminologists, but also from key figures in the criminal justice arena, including the Director of Europol and Deputy Chief Constable for South Wales.

I came away from the conference feeling informed, encouraged and hopeful for the future of criminology and its contribution to policy and practice. Thankyou EuroCrim for a wonderful, academically invigorating conference. And, most of all, thank you to the people of Cardiff, whose hospitality and friendliness was second to none!

Dr Tina G. Patel

Tina is author of ‘Race and Society’, published by Sage in 2016.

Anthony is author if ‘Men, Masculinities and Violence’, published by Routledge in 2015.

European Society of Criminology Conference

29 September 2016

Tina PatelFrom 21st to 24th September this year, I was lucky enough to spend several days hearing about the work of fellow criminologists (and sociologists of deviance!), at the European Society of Criminology’s Annual Conference, held in Münster, Germany (http://www.eurocrim2016.com/). All matter of criminological subjects were covered … crime prevention, criminal justice processes and systems, victim support, offender motivation, criminal behaviour, to name a few. Typical of the ESC, there were lots of paper presentations – and inevitably this meant I was only able to attend a tiny percent of presentations. Those that I attended covered research work on extremism and terrorism, cybercrime, immigration, honour crimes and sexual violence. I was inspired by the several thought-provoking plenaries, and especially hopeful for the future of critical criminological work when I met a number of postgraduate and early-career researchers.

I was also honoured to have been able to present my own paper. Based on arguments contained in my upcoming book ‘Race and Society’ (to be released in November 2016, by Sage publications), my conference paper was titled ‘Cultural repertoires in the media’s coverage of child sexual exploitation’. In it, I discussed the media’s coverage of two child sexual exploitation (CSE) cases in Rochdale (Greater Manchester) and Rotherham (South Yorkshire), UK. These cases gained prominent media attention in the period between 2010 and 2015. The CSE involved young white female victims and male abusers of black and minority ethnic (BME) background, in particular of Pakistani heritage and of Muslim faith. The paper argued that these cases were narrated in the media entirely through a cultural repertoire, and drew on older racialised panics about the black (or in particular, brown) menace and white victims. This further presented racialized profiling methods as necessary. Apart from the obvious concern around racial profiling, I argue that there is also the problem that the crime of CSE becomes racialised – presented as a form of culturally-specific deviance, rather than one about gender and power. I concluded by emphasising how the media’s racialised (re)presentation of these CSE cases takes into account their relative power in modern society, as well as their status, along with other elites, as joint-producers of information about race and racism.

Thank you to the ESC organisers and delegates for enabling a thoroughly enjoyable, thought-provoking and inspiring conference. And, thank you to the people of Münster for your warm welcome, wonderful weather and delicious food!

Dr Tina G. Patel is a senior lecturer in Criminology. To hear more about Tina’s work, you can follow her on Twitter: @DrTinaPatel.

Anarchy in numbers?

22 June 2016

chris3From June 6th to June 10th I was fortunate to be able to attend the 3rd international conference on Governance, Crime and Justice Statistics magnificently organised by the Center for Excellence in Statistical Information on Government, Crime, Victimization and Justice with support from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Mexican Institute of Statistics and Geography. The programme brought together researchers and experts from universities and government agencies to discuss current progress in collecting data on crime and justice, continued challenges and novel solutions (see http://www.gsj.inegi.org.mx/programme.html). During four days of wide ranging conversations, the topics ranged from the difficulties of collecting standardised data on murder across different countries, through new procedures for sifting electronically among the exploding number of media outlets for reported cases of terrorism or arrest-related deaths, to the challenges of measuring corruption. Cumulatively, the sessions allowed an assessment of the state-of the art and discussion about ways forward.

What also struck me about the meetings were two things which were NOT discussed. First, speaker after speaker bemoaned the patchy availability of data: governments and other organisations cannot be compelled to collect, organise or publish data. And a related problem was the lack of comparability between data sets: for example, one country includes traffic deaths in murder statistics while another does not. From the perspective of research, quantitative approaches demand standardised data for all cases, but the production of statistical information on crime and justice does not comply with that methodological diktat. So in a way, the topic left silent was not about statistics on governance but about the governance of statistics. Adherence to the standards of methodology might require an authoritarian (or at least centralised) model of data collection; yet currently, the production of statistical data seems to be a model of anarchy – with varying degrees of organisation. Which might be the best model for statistical data production: organised anarchy; a federal arrangement; or a highly centralised bureaucracy?

Second, many papers presented the findings from research projects using different kinds of quantitative data, and most concluded with a call for further research. If murder rates had been compared with state-level social indicators; now it would be important to compare them with municipal-level indicators. If fear of crime was asked in relation the neighbourhood, now it needed to be asked in relation to the city centre. Calls such as these reflect, among other things, the inherent possibilities offered by quantitative research to develop multiple permutations of the measurement strategy by making just one change in any of the variables in the study. But how often does this call for additional research actually lead to new studies, particularly in light of the finite resources available for research (a common gripe); and would it be better to see this type of call as the ‘performance’ of a research project, which concludes by saying that the project really has not concluded (even though it effectively has)?

Of course, these two matters are linked. The multiple permutations available for data collection exercises exist alongside the social organisation of the data collection itself. Would a different model of organisation lead to a different style of research project ‘performance’?

Chris Birkbeck