Special Issue "Imaginative Criminology"

A special issue of Societies (ISSN 2075-4698).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2015)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Jon Frauley

Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Interests: theoretic practice; epistemology and methodology; cultural criminology; imaginative criminology; creative analytics; criminological imagination

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

More and more criminologists are discovering the value of film and fiction for criminological research and theorising. The cultural criminology movement has done much to entrench and legitimate a substantive criminological engagement with popular culture. This Special Issue will situate cultural criminology as part of a broader movement in “imaginative criminology” and will explore this broader theoretical and analytical terrain. Imaginative criminology, as will be developed here, is both an analytic strategy and an outcome. It is an approach that can be put to work to offer creative and holistic understandings and explanations of criminological phenomena.

Dr. Jon Frauley
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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  • criminological imagination
  • cultural criminology
  • theory
  • imaginative criminology
  • critical criminology

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Open AccessEditorial On Imaginative Criminology and Its Significance
Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa, Social Sciences Building 14th Floor, Ottawa, ON K1N5N6, Canada
Societies 2015, 5(3), 618-630; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc5030618
Received: 20 August 2015 / Accepted: 21 August 2015 / Published: 24 August 2015
Abstract | Cited by 1PDF Full-text (657 KB) | HTML Full-textXML Full-text
Abstract: In growing numbers criminologists are discovering the value of imaginative and creative approaches for enquiry. There is now a critical mass of criminological work that engages substantively and theoretically with cultural artefacts such as film, fiction, music, dance, art, photography and cultural institutions. In doing so these works highlight criminology’s persistent epistemological and methodological weaknesses. The broad and fragmented “imaginative criminology” movement offers a challenge to an orthodox criminology that is guided by the coercive and constraining bureaucratic categories of criminal justice administration and the criminal law. Imaginative criminology displaces these as the governing categories of criminological thought and practice. Drawing on the work of Pierre Bourdieu, Louis Althusser, and C. Wright Mills this paper considers the movement’s epistemological significance and the challenge posed to criminological orthodoxy.
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Imaginative Criminology)


Jump to: Editorial

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Reimagining the Educational Field: Thoughts on a Critical Criminology of Education
Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa, 120 University Street, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada
Societies 2015, 5(2), 442-459; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc5020442
Received: 4 March 2015 / Accepted: 6 May 2015 / Published: 14 May 2015
Abstract | Cited by 1PDF Full-text (127 KB) | HTML Full-textXML Full-text
Abstract: Prompted by the need to expand the criminological enterprise, this paper makes a case for a critical criminology of education, one that takes a governance approach. It seeks to illustrate what such a criminology might entail by developing an analytic framework with which to analyze the educational field. The framework is put to use to provide an analytic discussion of Ontario education policy reformations concerning student discipline. Education was conceptualized by policymakers as an institution for disciplining and governing students, specifically through the concept of “bullying”. From this analysis, the paper suggests it is possible to theorize education as a “security apparatus”, one that is increasingly concerned with the governance of social (in)security and public safety. The discussion suggests that education is an important institution for governing by identifying one regulatory project that concerns student behavior both within and beyond the school. In so doing, the paper illustrates the creative process in developing a criminology of education, and the value of imaginative thinking within criminology.
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Imaginative Criminology)
Open AccessArticle Documentary Criminology: Expanding the Criminological Imagination with “Mardi Gras—Made in China” as a Case Study (23 Minutes)
School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent, Cornwallis NE 01, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NF, UK
Societies 2015, 5(2), 425-441; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc5020425
Received: 25 February 2015 / Revised: 22 April 2015 / Accepted: 27 April 2015 / Published: 6 May 2015
Abstract | Cited by 2PDF Full-text (205 KB) | HTML Full-textXML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract: This paper explores the central role of documentary filmmaking as a methodological practice in contemporary criminology. It draws from cultural criminology to develop emerging, open-ended practices for conducting ethnographically inflected audiovisual research that crafts sensory knowledge from aesthetic experience. First, it demonstrates how documentary criminology is an ethnographic practice that embraces audiovisual technologies to inflect, render, and depict the aesthetics of material, sensory, and corporeal experiences of crime and transgression as knowledge production. Second, it explores a particular type of lived experience that John Dewey terms “aesthetic” to demonstrate the sorts of tangible and intangible entities that documentary criminology can interpret, record and depict as knowledge. To demonstrate this approach, the article employs a variety of examples from cultural criminology and from the documentary Mardi Gras: Made in China. The final part of the paper turns to an analysis of Mardi Gras: Made in China itself to illustrate the overlap of theory, methods, and reflexive practices of documentary criminology within four broad aesthetic domains: temporality, topography, corporeality, and the personal. The inclusion of documentary within an open-ended methodological sensibility, both as a mode of analysis and as a means of producing sensory knowledge, can expand the criminological imagination.
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Imaginative Criminology)
Open AccessArticle “Jihad Cool/Jihad Chic”: The Roles of the Internet and Imagined Relations in the Self-Radicalization of Colleen LaRose (Jihad Jane)
Tim Bower Rodriguez, P.A., 601 N. Ashley Drive, Suite 310, Tampa, FL 33602, USA
Societies 2015, 5(2), 354-383; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc5020354
Received: 25 January 2015 / Revised: 8 April 2015 / Accepted: 10 April 2015 / Published: 22 April 2015
Abstract | Cited by 5PDF Full-text (286 KB) | HTML Full-textXML Full-text
Abstract: The internet provides the means through which a “self-activating terrorist” may first self-radicalize through some imaginary or sympathetic connection with an organized terrorist network. Additionally, the internet allows such a self-activating terrorist to move into the stage of radical violent action. The internet serves both functions by providing the lone wolf with not only a rhetorical medium for self-justification and communication through the use of “monster talk” and its converse, the rhetoric about the “good citizen,” but it is also a source for relatively inexpensive and more unpredictable technologies of mass destruction. Crucial to this analysis is the distinction between radicalization of thought and radicalization of action, as a theoretical rhetoric of radicalization does not automatically convert into a rhetoric of radical action unless there are catalysts at work. The internet, as well as imagined relations cemented by the rhetorics of “jihadi cool” or “jihadi chic,” function as these crucial catalysts, galvanizing monster talk into monstrous action. The article focuses specifically on the case of self-activating terrorist Colleen LaRose to analyze how different factors—mental, psychological, social, and economic—interact with imaginative elements, such as surrogate father-mentor-lover relations for LaRose, and contribute to the formation of a self-activating terrorist, and what ultimately motivates and galvanizes her to move from a rhetoric of radical talk to a rhetoric of radical action, using Silber and Bhatt’s model of radicalization as an initial heuristic. In the case of Colleen LaRose, the romance of “jihadi chic” or “jihadi cool” (the converse of the rhetoric of the monstrous “infidel” or “lone wolf terrorist”) was an essential factor to her self-radicalization. It is this imagined status of “jihadi chic” or “jihadi cool” (that nevertheless must somehow have a look of “reality” or “authenticity” and command a response from its audience) that continues to be a crucial component of the success of recruitment strategies of radical jihadi groups, such as ISIS.
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Imaginative Criminology)
Open AccessArticle Balzac and the Crimes of the Powerful
School of Law, Middlesex University, The Burroughs, London NW4 4BT, UK
Societies 2015, 5(2), 325-338; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc5020325
Received: 20 February 2015 / Revised: 3 April 2015 / Accepted: 7 April 2015 / Published: 15 April 2015
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Abstract: This paper proposes a journey through some of the many novels written by Honoré de Balzac, through the mythic constitution of his world, his epic, which summons up the same recurrent circle of figures: his “human comedy” will offer surprising insights for a better understanding of the crimes of the powerful.
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Imaginative Criminology)
Open AccessArticle Performative Criminology and the “State of Play” for Theatre with Criminalized Women
Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada
Societies 2015, 5(2), 295-313; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc5020295
Received: 27 February 2015 / Revised: 13 March 2015 / Accepted: 7 April 2015 / Published: 14 April 2015
Abstract | Cited by 2PDF Full-text (124 KB) | HTML Full-textXML Full-text
Abstract: This article applies feminist theory with cultural criminology to explore the role of theatre in the lives of criminalized women. Theatre initiatives for criminalized populations are growing worldwide, and so we are seeking to better understand how these two realms intersect. This article is based on a case study which was conducted at the Clean Break Theatre Company in London, England in the summer of 2013. We explore some of the emerging themes, which took shape from a thematic analysis. First we describe how theatre can be used as a lens into the experiences of criminalized women, and then as a tool for growth in their lives. The role of environment at Clean Break, and the role of voice from practicing theatre in a women-only environment are then discussed. Lastly, the roles of transformation and growth overall for the participants are explored in relation to their experiences with theatre practices. This article works to understand how theatre practices can elevate and adapt cultural criminology into a new form of imaginative criminology, and questions how we can embrace this form of engagement between theatre and criminology within a Canadian context.
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Imaginative Criminology)
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