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Criminology: Voyages of Critical Discovery
BJC Virtual Issue (2015): 2 (2)

Jill Annison, Gisella Hanley Santos, and Chris Pac-Soo


This ‘Virtual Issue’ of The British Journal of Criminology follows the instigation last year of a virtual collection of articles from the journal connected to the themes of the 2014 British Society of Criminology Conference. This year the conference will be hosted by Plymouth University, with the overarching theme ‘Criminology: Voyages of Critical Discovery’ . The 2015 conference aims to provide space for criminologists to participate in a reflexive and critical way, with three associated strands: engaging in debate, challenging orthodoxy, and promoting innovation.

The conference theme and the three strands have guided the choice of this 2015 British Journal of Criminology special virtual edition. This selection has itself been a process of contestation but conducted in the spirit of inclusionary dialogue. Most importantly, the articles in this edition are viewed as being seminal pieces and specifically, that they have driven debate in criminology forward. Taking the three strands in turn:

Engaging in debate - The innovative nature of the plenary panels at the conference provides a forum for the keynote speakers to present their ideas and to discuss them in the round. Over time these articles too have turned the lens onto new areas of criminological enquiry and contributed to developing a vibrant environment for informed discussion and further critique and analysis.

Challenging orthodoxy – Criminology is a discipline which questions ‘taken for granted’ aspects of society and common-sense viewpoints and has often faced the buffeting from ensuing controversies. Many of those who undertook dangerous and uncertain voyages from Plymouth in the past had confronted the status quo, questioning accepted conventions, customs, and beliefs. This conference strand and many of the articles in this selection challenge criminologists to consider where they stand in this respect and to debate the issues that then emerge.

Promoting innovation – The climate of austerity militates against a society that prioritises social justice, with the criminal justice system being viewed through the prism of cost-saving and cutbacks. This strand encourages criminologists to engage with the challenges of the present and to look ahead to alternative possibilities for the future.

This set of articles is intended to contribute to, and engage with the criminological ‘voyages of critical discovery’ that will take place via the proceedings of the 2015 British Society of Criminology conference and furthermore encourage engagement with the resources within the British Journal of Criminology electronic archive.

The articles chosen for the special virtual edition 2015 are:

1) Towards Paramilitarism? Dilemmas in Policing Civil Disorder
Waddington, P. A. J. from BJC 27 (1)

2) What Works in Evaluation Research?
R. Pawson, and N. Tilley from BJC 34 (3)

3) Criminology, Social Theory and the Challenge of our Times
D. Garland and R. Sparks from BJC 40 (2)

4) Restorative Justice and Gendered Violence: Diversion or Effective Justice?
Barbara Hudson from BJC Vol. 42 (3)

5) Racism, Ethnicity and Criminology. Developing Minority Perspectives
C. Phillips and B. Bowling from BJC 43 (2)

6) War, Aggression and State Crime. A Criminological Analysis of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq
Ronald C. Kramer and Raymond J. Michalowski from BJC 45 (4)

7) Public Opinion Versus Public Judgement about Crime: Correcting the ‘Comedy of Errors’
David A. Green from BJC 46 (1)

8) The Pros and Cons of Life without Parole
Catherine Appleton and Bent Grøver from BJC 47 (4)

9) How Scared Are We?
S. Walklate and G. Mythen from BJC 48 (2)

10) Why do People Comply with the Law? Legitimacy and the Influence of Legal Institutions
Jonathan Jackson, Ben Bradford, Mike Hough, Andy Myhill, Paul Quinton, and Tom R. Tyler from BJC 52 (6)

11) ‘With Scenes of Blood and Pain’: Crime Control and the Punitive Imagination of the Meth Project
T. Linnemann, L. Hanson, and L. Susan Williams from BJC 53 (4)

12) Greening Justice: Examining the Interfaces of Criminal, Social and Ecological Justice
R. White and H. Graham from BJC first published online: February 3, 2015

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