Whither Criminology: Its Global Futures?


This paper takes as its starting point the recent interventions of Jock Young (2011) on the contemporary state of criminology. In adding to these observations those made by Connell (2007) and Aas (2012), the case will be made, following de Sousa Santos (2014), for a criminology of absences. In endeavouring to uncover these absences, the paper will consider how the ‘bogus of positivism’ (Young 2011, chapter 4), its associated presumptions and related conceptual thinking, manifest themselves in two substantive areas of contemporary concern: violence against women and violent extremism. With the first of these issues I shall consider the ongoing controversies in which the bogus of positivism is most apparent: the powerful influence of the criminal victimisation survey as the data gathering instrument about such violence. In the second area of concern, this bogus of positivism is most apparent in its ‘nomothetic impulse’ (ibid: 73). Both of these discussions will expose different, but connected absences within criminology. In the final and concluding part of this paper, I shall return to the questions posed by the title of this paper: whither criminology, and in the light of this discussion, offer some thoughts on the place of Asian criminology within criminology’s global future(s).

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