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Posts tagged: Criminology

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.

Successful Cities

19 May 2016

chris3What can criminologists do when they work in countries with very high crime rates? What proposals can they make for bringing crime rates down? This was the topic I addressed when invited to talk (via Skype) to Criminology graduates in Mérida, Venezuela, in March of this year. Venezuela saw its crime rates increase dramatically from the mid-1990s onwards and now has some of the highest crime rates in the world. In 2013, the murder rate was estimated at 79 per 100,000 habitants (which compares with a murder rate of 1 per 100,000 for the UK). Such is the sense of urgency and crisis that the usual crime prevention measures, which often require long-term development, don’t seem to be appropriate.chris1

However, one answer to the problem might be found in policies that have been adopted, with apparent success, in some other parts of Latin America. For example, the city of Medellín, Colombia, with a murder rate above 350 per 100,000 in the early 1990s saw a substantial decline to about 25 per 100,000 by 2005. How did they do it? By developing urban infrastructure to improve and integrate low income neighbourhoods, improving urban management, increasing citizen participation and, importantly, negotiating with violent actors. chris2In other words, they established or increased the presence of the state in order to pacify the urban
environment. Many of these solutions look interesting, feasible and defensible. The worry relates to the negotiation: is it designed to dismantle violence as a form of control, or only to regulate it? That is a dilemma for criminologists as well: how do they engage with, confront and defuse systems of violence?

Chris Birkbeck, Professor of Criminology