The York Deviancy Conference
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 May 2012 11:51
- Dr. Walter S. DeKeseredy and Dr. Molly Dragiewicz
The York Deviancy Conference held from June 29th to July 1, 2011 added more empirical support to the claim that critical criminology is very much alive and well. The conference generated fond memories for those who participated in the first National Deviancy Conference held at the University of York in 1968. This event also brought together scholars from around the globe to discuss new progressive theoretical, empirical, and political work that needs to be done in this current era. We definitely learned much from this inspiring gathering, and we developed new intellectual partnerships and friendships.
Nearly 300 people participated in the York Deviancy Conference and they constitute the tip of the critical criminological iceberg. To be sure, critical criminology is an international enterprise and many progressives were unable to travel to York. The breadth of work done since Taylor, Walton, and Young published their pioneering book The New Criminology in 1973 is one of the key reasons why we decided to edit the Routledge Handbook of Critical Criminology (to be published November 8, 2011). It is a daunting task to keep up with all the new writings in the field, and there are not enough bookshelves in our offices to hold all the critical books, journal articles, and other written materials produced by our colleagues. This collection brings together 51 key thinkers to provide a contemporary view of major issues in critical criminology, including recent developments in areas such as feminist criminology, cultural criminology, and left realism.
The Handbook challenges mainstream scholars' assertion that critical criminology is little more than a school of thought devoted to exposing the weaknesses of orthodox ways of thinking about crime, law, and social control. The chapters included in this anthology show that critical criminologists are heavily involved in theory construction and theory testing, and they use a variety of methods to gather and analyze qualitative and quantitative data. Critical criminologists also don't simply call for radical social, political, and economic change. Although this is one of their central goals, additionally, they propose numerous short-term ways of chipping away at broader social forces that influence crime and that buttress unjust laws and methods of social control. Examples of such recent initiatives are scattered throughout the Handbook. Critical criminology is often criticized for ignoring gender. True, early works, such as The New Criminology, said nothing about women and the gendered nature of society; however, as demonstrated in the Handbook, at the York conference, and elsewhere (e.g., Walter DeKeseredy's Contemporary Critical Criminology), things have changed considerably since 1973. It isn't only gender issues that are taken more seriously; race/ethnicity, class, and gender are today treated by the bulk of the critical criminological community as equally important.
Another thing that the Handbook and the York Deviancy Conference have in common is sensitizing the criminological world to the fact that critical criminology reaches beyond its most recognized birthplaces - the United Kingdom and the United States. You will also find vibrant groups of progressive scholars in Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Latin America, Norway, and in other places. New information technologies now make it much easier for critical criminologists to exchange ideas with peers based outside their respective countries and to develop collaborative projects. In fact, the Handbook, like other new edited volumes, would not have come to fruition had it not been for electronic mail. Given the current global economic crisis, mass incarceration in the United States, famine in Africa, and a myriad of other major social problems, many would agree with Jock Young's assertion that, "If there ever was a need for a new criminology, it is now." Staying the course has done little, if anything, to the make the world safer from violence and related harms. Further, as Jock Young vividly describes in his new book The Criminological Imagination, much of criminology today is characterized by what the late sociologist C. Wright Mills referred to as "abstracted empiricism" and is uninspiring. Isn't it, then, time to think critically about crime?
Editors of the Routledge Handbook of Critical Criminology.
Walter S. DeKeseredy is Professor of Criminology at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). He has published 16 books and over 100 scientific journal articles and book chapters on. In 2008, the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma gave him the Linda Saltzman Memorial Intimate Partner Violence Researcher Award. He also jointly received the 2004 Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Society of Criminology's (ASC) Division on Women and Crime and the 2007 inaugural UOIT Research Excellence Award. In 1995, he received the Critical Criminologist of the Year Award from the ASC's Division on Critical Criminology (DCC) and in 2008 the DCC gave him the Lifetime Achievement Award. Walter is also an Editorial Board Member of CRIMSOC the Journal of Social Criminology.
Molly Dragiewicz is Assistant Professor of Criminology at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Canada. Her research interests center on gender, violence, and antifeminist backlash. She received the New Scholar Award from the American Society of Criminology's Division on Women and Crime in 2009, and recently published Equality With A Vengeance: Men's Rights Groups, Battered Women, and Antifeminist Backlash in the Northeastern University Press Series on Gender, Crime, and Law. Molly is also an Editorial Board Member of CRIMSOC the Journal of Social Criminology.
York Deviance Conference Website: http://www.york.ac.uk/sociology/about/news-and-events/department/deviancy-conference/
University of Ontario Institute of Technology Faculty of Criminology, Justice & Policy Website: http://www.socialscienceandhumanities.uoit.ca/EN/main/programs/crimjustice.html
The Routledge Handbook of Critical Criminology: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415779678/