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date: 04 February 2023

Cultural Bias in International Criminologylocked

Cultural Bias in International Criminologylocked

  • René van SwaaningenRené van SwaaningenCriminology Department, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam


To make some advances in international criminology, one needs to face that, historically, criminological knowledge has often been used to support colonial and authoritarian rule and acknowledge that international criminologists operate by and large in a culturally ill-informed vacuum in which a “universal” validity of Western theories is taken for granted. Starting from Edward Said’s famous critique of the “orientalism” of Western academics, an investigation is needed on how current cultural anthropological debates on cultural landscapes and cosmopolitan identities could help overcome this problem. The main scholarly debates in non-Western and counter-colonial criminology set a dialogue between perspectives elaborated by Global North scholars and viewpoints proposed by authors working in a variety of Global South regions. It constitutes, in this regard, a contribution to decolonize and globalize international criminology debates because it considers voices and visions all too frequently overlooked by the extant English-speaking literature. In addition, a nexus is set between current developments in this academic field and viewpoints put forth by critical criminology authors decades ago. It is argued that a culturally informed international criminology is not based on humanitarian do-gooderism or shame over a colonial past, rather, it is fundamental if criminologists are to understand the world around us and the “glocal” questions that confront the field.


  • International Crime

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