What is cultural criminology?

What is cultural criminology? Above all else, it is the placing of crime and its control in the context of culture; that is, viewing both crime and the agencies of control as cultural products—as creative constructs. As such they must be read in terms of the meanings they carry.

Furthermore, cultural criminology seeks to highlight how power effects the upwards and downwards constructions of criminological phenomena: rules created, rules broken, the constant interplay of moral entrepreneurship, moral innovation, and transgression.

From the view of cultural criminology, then, the subject matter of criminology must include not only ‘crime’ and ‘criminal justice’ as narrowly conceived, but related and diverse phenomena such as media representations of crime, the uncriminalised deviance of political and financial elites, and public displays of emotion by crime victims.

In these and other cases, the experience of crime and crime control is shaped by the meanings that are assigned to it, and by the cultural stockpile of historical references, established and evolving vectors of power, and common everyday perceptions from which these meanings are drawn.

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Culturalcriminology.org is co-ordinated out of the University of Kent
by Dr. Keith Hayward & Dr David Redmon