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Article

Daniela Bandelli and Consuelo Corradi

Since the 1990’s, the notion of femicide has disseminated in civil society, the media, policy making, and scientific literature and has helped movements to draw attention to violence against women. The notion was coined to reveal the sexual politics of the murder of women and call militants to action. Today, it is increasingly used with the meaning of killing a woman because she is a woman, emphasizing gender and misogyny as the main motives. Femicide as well as the consequences of its application in diverse research areas are explored from a historical, legal, international, and activist point of view. The political thrust of the notion has proven to be useful in raising awareness on the emergency of the problem. However, the notion becomes unclear when it is used as a heuristic tool because (a) there is more than one interpretation about which types of homicide should be included and which fall beyond the definition of femicide and (b) the gender identity of the victim is not the only or the central motive of the homicide—both caveats pose problems to quantitative data collection and comparison. Available literature on homicide, family, and intimate partner violence offers a complex picture on why men kill women: explanations include diverse and interrelated factors pertaining to individual characteristics of perpetrators and victim, their relational history, and the influence of sociocultural environment, including a culture of male superiority and control. In addition, scientific literature has suggested that the importance of gender equality variables as a predicting factor for intimate partner violence should not be taken for granted, but it should be tested at the empirical level. Accurate options are suggested that yield robust and comparable empirical data for the advancement of knowledge and prevention.

Article

Indigenous justice has been practiced by Indigenous peoples in Oceania and North America since time immemorial. These practices have been disregarded, disrespected, and displaced by Eurocentric principles of criminal law and procedure—a system that has been forced upon Indigenous peoples without their consent. As a result of colonization, Indigenous peoples have endured a system that not only has used its laws to erase the existence of Indigenous peoples but also has failed to recognize and honor Indigenous peoples’ systems and principles of laws. At the present time, the colonial systems of laws have begun to recognize Indigenous laws and justice; however, the state has still tried to control how, what, and where Indigenous laws and justice can be utilized. There continues to be a lack of understanding of Indigenous justice, because most education systems are not required to teach it. This is slowly starting to change, but we are nowhere near the actual recognition and practice of Indigenous justice systems. Indigenous peoples continue to practice their laws despite the colonial systems and processes, and in the future, Indigenous justice will be fully recognized with its own jurisdiction and with Indigenous peoples making healthy and respectful decisions about their own peoples.

Article

Cultural criminology places crime and its control within the realm of culture. Namely, it sees crime and crime control as social constructs or as cultural products; that is, their meaning is defined by the existing power relations of the social and cultural context of which they are part. As such, cultural criminology focuses on understanding how the meanings of crime, justice, and crime control are constructed, enforced, contested, and resisted within an increasingly globalized socioeconomic and cultural context. This is the context of late modernity where capitalism continues to infiltrate one community after the other, transforming people into consumers and experiences; emotions, life, and nature into consumer products. It is a context of transnational networks of flows of people, capital, goods, and images, where identities, communities, politics, and culture are increasingly constructed through the media and the Internet. There is a growing enmeshment of human communities—signified by the term globalization—in a way that events in one part of the world increasingly affect the other, and which make all the more evident perpetuating inequalities between Global North and South, as well as increasing marginality, exploitation, and exclusion of minorities within Global North and South. Simultaneously it is a world with effervescent potential for creativity, political activism, resistance, transcendence, and recuperation. This is briefly the context of late modernity within which cultural criminology endeavors to understand how perceptions about crime, justice, and crime control come to be constructed, enforced, and contested. Cultural criminology adopts a triadic framework of analysis whereby it bridges the macro level of power (i.e., capitalism, patriarchy, racism, anthropocentrism, imperialism) to that of the meso level of culture (i.e., art forms, media, subcultures, knowledge, discourse) and the micro level of everyday life and emotions. Through this intertwined exploration of the macro, the meso, and the micro in the globally connected world of late modernity, cultural criminology embraces a highly interdisciplinary and critical stance that grants it a particular international edge, as it is attuned to contemporary issues that affect communities locally and internationally. Cultural criminology’s international edge, for example, is depicted in challenging globally established forms of criminological knowledge production, which are dictated by state definitions of crime and “law and order”-oriented policies. These definitions and their accompanying policies omit harms committed by the powerful or the state itself along with everyday life experiences of and with crime. The call for a cultural criminology is one of resistance to these dominant forms of knowledge that reinforce and legitimize the status quo at local, national, and international levels. It is a call that aims to reorient criminology to contemporary and perpetuating manifestations of power, inequalities, and resistance within the contemporary context of late modernity and globalization. To do so though, cultural criminology should also be more reflexive on its positionality within the realm of knowledge, as it represents largely a Global North perspective. As such, it should extend its attentiveness to forms of knowledge and perspectives stemming from the Global South and should seek to be critiqued from and open a dialogue with Southern and non-Western decolonial perspectives.

Article

Nicholas Walrath and Travis Linnemann

The year 2020 saw police militarization again thrust into debates regarding the nature and extent of police violence. Critics of police militarization suggest that as departments have assumed military weaponry and tactics, the institution has drifted from its original mandate of crime control and public service, portending lethal consequences for the most vulnerable. While these critics trace its origins to the advent of SWAT, No Knock raids and other tactics born of the war on drugs, what is misread as the “blurring” of military and police is in fact symptomatic of a much older process of pacification, whereby both the war power and the police power are enlisted to discipline surplus populations and establish market conditions in the interests of capital. From this position, policing has not been poisoned by the practices of war, nor have the boundaries between foreign and domestic muddied, but rather military and police are mutually constitutive and parts of a continuum of state violence. Here the “iron fist” of open violence and repression and the velvet glove of “community policing” work in conjunction to facilitate the conditions of liberal social order.

Article

Richard Staring and René van Swaaningen

Despite the dominant notion that people are now allegedly living in the “era of globalization,” accompanied by rosy stories about a “global village,” borders have never lost their significance. On the contrary, the importance of borders has grown significantly under recent global and European crises. Not only have the number of borders increased, but borders also have become fluid as they moved outside national territories in order to protect countries, as well as political and economic unions, against the perceived threats of transnational organized crime, pandemics, unwanted migration, and terrorism. This externalization of borders through (financial) support and bilateral agreements with other countries led to a relocation of borders far beyond the geographical borders of nation states. In addition, borders have been renewed, reinforced, (temporarily) reactivated, and transformed. Specific attention is paid to some developments surrounding borders, including a responsibilization process on border control, in which governments increasingly stimulate or enforce private parties to take up responsibility in controlling their companies, and ultimately their borders, with respect to irregular migration and crime. Borders are also embodied in different kinds of measures and policies of nation-states that guard access of welfare state provisions, and through the merging of criminal law and immigration law (i.e., crimmigration). Finally, the “border industry” means business for construction, infrastructure, biometrics, and identity technology companies, as well as for security forces, research institutes, aid organizations, and human smugglers. The commodification of borders is an ongoing process as envisioned not only in popular culture as music, literature, reality TV and movies, but also in borders that have become important touristic attractions. The framing of borders through this commodification process as inevitable and as a necessity in turn expresses and legitimates current state agendas.

Article

Alexandra Stupperich, Helga Ihm, and Shannon B. Harper

Since the late 1950s, criminological research has focused on the question of why particular groups are more likely to become involved in criminal and/or deviant behavior. Theories about subcultures start from the premise that smaller sub- or countercultural groupings exist within a larger society and differentiate themselves by developing their own moral precepts, values, and norms. Subcultural theories were originally developed in the United States and have a long theoretical tradition dating back to the 1930s. Structural-functionalist sociologist Albert Cohen in 1955 first used the term, “delinquent subculture.” In his book Criminal Youth, Cohen defined subculture as the sum of dominant knowledge, convictions and beliefs, conventions, preferences, and prejudices within and acquired by participation in the particular group. Deviant behavior arises when these values and norms run counter to those of the dominant culture. Cohen interpreted delinquency as a collective, practical, and quick solution to problems caused by unequal opportunities in the class system. The basic assumption of early subcultural theories was that members of the lower socioeconomic classes established their own value system and norms due to their inability to conform to middle-class values and norms and achieve middle-class goals. Later in the 1970s, subcultural theory was altered and further expanded by the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) at Birmingham University. The CCCS posits that criminal subcultures favor delinquency due to intersecting attitudes such as the rejection of authority, hedonism, or sensation-seeking. Moreover, the relationships between members within a subculture are important due to the shared nature of values, norms, and identities. Regionality is no longer a criterion for a delinquent/criminal subculture due to modern Europe’s high level of mobility and digital networks. Instead, modern delinquent/criminal subcultures utilize social media outlets not limited to region to disseminate their values and norms and establish identity. Islamic fundamentalism and the Reich Citizens and Sovereign Citizens movements are examples of subcultures that utilize the Internet to rapidly spread programs and ideologies in a targeted and simple manner. While earlier subcultural studies tended to explain the relationship between subculture and criminality as due to frustration over social and economic inequality, more recent research argues that subcultural theories need to be macro-level focused. Consequently, recent scholarship frames subcultural criminality as an expression of groups’ social and material life, which are defined by stylistic factors such as intentional communication, homology, and specific (piecemeal) solutions to problems.

Article

The evolution of criminal justice technologies is inextricably linked to the emergence of new modes of electronic and digital governance that have become essential components of a surveillance and crime control culture continually seeking out novel responses to actual and perceived threats. The slow emergence of these technologies in the second part of the 20th century was often theorized through a discourse of order and control that has subsequently evolved in the 21st century to emphasize the protective potential of technologies oriented toward the interests of victims. The potential of criminal justice technologies to improve public safety and address issues of repeat victimization has now been subjected to significant scrutiny from scholars across the globe. While it would be conceptually inaccurate to split offenders and victims into two discrete groups, there has been an increase in analytical focus upon the intersections between victims of crime and technology within the context of criminal justice processes that had traditionally been oriented toward offenders. A more sophisticated understanding of the psychological and behavioral potential of criminal justice technologies has emerged that has permanently adjusted the landscape of crime and disorder management and has had a transformative impact upon the relationship between victims, technology, and criminal justice. Yet, at the same time, the integration of digital technologies into the crime control and criminal justice infrastructure still is at an early stage in its evolution, with future trends and patterns uncertain.

Article

Anna Alvazzi del Frate and Gergely Hideg

Victimization studies, which became popular in the 1970s, are largely based on surveys of the population. As of the late 1980s, the potential for internationally comparable surveys emerged with the first round of the International Crime Victim Survey (ICVS). Starting from early international studies and using the ICVS as a prominent example, an examination of the characteristics of victimization surveys is given, both in terms of content and methodology, their potential and limits, which make them suitable for international use. Multi-country surveys can provide indications from different countries about major crime problems, the most vulnerable population groups at risk of victimization, and perceptions and opinions about fear of crime and the performance of delegated authorities. Victimization surveys initially covered several types of conventional crime directly experienced by respondents and progressively expanded and specialized to measure bribery and corruption, both among individuals and businesses, as well as violence against women through dedicated surveys. Considering that surveys are an effective tool to measure crime and victims’ perceptions where institutional capacity is weak, the possibility to bridge knowledge gaps and engage developing countries has been identified as a major potential. Despite some methodological challenges, further use and expansion of victimization surveys is in progress (e.g., for measuring some indicators for Sustainable Development Goals [SDG]).

Article

Kayla M. Martensen and Beth E. Richie

Prison abolition as an American movement, strategy, and theory has existed since the establishment of prison as the primary mode of punishment. In many of its forms, it is an extension of abolition movements dating back to the inception of slavery. The long-term goal of prison abolition is for all people to live in a safe, liberated, and free world. In practice, prison abolition values healing and accountability, suggesting an entirely different way of living and maintaining relationships outside of oppressive regimes, including that of the prison. Prison abolition is concerned with the dismantling of the prison–industrial complex and other oppressive institutions and structures, which restrict true liberation of people who have been marginalized by those in power. These structures include white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, and ablest and heteronormative ideologies. The origins of the prison regime are both global and rooted in history with two fundamental strategies of dominance, the captivity of African-descended peoples, and the conquest of Indigenous and Aboriginal peoples, land and resource. Similarly, the origins of prison abolition begin with the resistance of these systems of dominance. The contemporary prison abolition movement, today, is traced to the Attica Prison Uprising in 1971 when incarcerated people in the New York prison rebelled and demanded change in the living conditions inside prison. The nature of the uprising was different from prior efforts, insofar as the organizers’ demands were about fundamental rights, not merely reforms. Throughout the history of abolition work, there is continuous division between reform and abolition organizers. When the lives, voices, and leadership of the people most impacted by the violence of these oppressive regimes is centered, there is minimal space for discussion of reform. Throughout the abolition movement in America, and other western cultures, the leadership of Black, Indigenous, women, and gender-nonconforming people of color play a pivotal role. By centering the experiences of those most vulnerable, abolitionists understand prison does not need to be reformed and is critical of fashionable reforms and alternatives to prisons which are still rooted in carceral logic.

Article

Hua Zhong and Serena Yunran Zhang

The social control of crime is diversified across societies. The social control of crime in Asia inherits features that are unique to Asian cultural traditions (e.g., Confucianism and Islamism) and strives by exploring more effective models by balancing formal and informal social control. These social controls are also greatly influenced by socioeconomic developments and the dominance of the polity in Asian societies. Overall, Asian countries are going through the struggles between capitalism–socialism, democracy–authoritarianism, and traditionality–modernity. Such changing dynamics will continue to shape and reshape the way that formal and informal social institutions and processes exert control over crime and deviance. Cultivated by different civilizations, Asian societies have provided unique and valuable evidence to understand and refine the existing social control models developed from Western societies.