Kelly Gorkoff, PhD. University of Winnipeg
I am a cis-white female who grew up in a working-class home that was strongly leftist politically. I was raised, and completed my undergrad work, in Winnipeg, Treaty One Territory and homeland of the Metis people. As an MA student and for 6 years after, I worked with a national feminist research group established after the Montreal Massacre where I examined gender-based, colonial violence. I studied political economy and sociology in Ontario, on unceded Anishinabe Algonquin territory, and I landed back on Treaty One Territory where I continue to teach, research, and work to understand the dynamics of marginalisation and inequality, power and politics, ideology and subjectivity.
Kevin Walby, PhD. University of Winnipeg
I am a cis-white male who grew up in Saskatchewan, including in small towns and rural areas. I was raised, and completed my undergrad work, in Saskatoon, Treaty Six Territory and part of the homeland of the Metis people. I studied sociology in Ontario, on unceded Anishinabe Algonquin territory, and I landed on Treaty One Territory where I continue to teach, research, and work to understand the dynamics of policing, surveillance, and security using qualitative and investigative research methods.
Critical criminology encompasses a set of concepts and ideas examining how crime and criminal justice agencies are used as a form of social power that benefits some groups over others. It investigates (in)equality by examining the oppressive nature of criminal justice agencies, law, and the social practices of criminalisation and marginalisation. That said, defining critical criminology is a difficult task and we agree with Ratner (2006) that it is “difficult to pin down.” This is because almost any form of criminology that attempts to interrogate power and investigate dominant social institutions could be construed as critical criminology. By no means can we settle any debates about exactly what critical criminology includes and excludes in this short chapter. All we can do is provide an outline of some of the key works in this area, as we see it. This account includes the rendering or production of criminological knowledge (Lynch, 2000; Quinney, 1979) and certainly has gaps. Also, we will not be able to go into some critical criminological contributions deserving of attention, such as anarchist criminology (Walach et al., 2021; Walby, 2011), constitutive criminology (Henry & Milovanovic, 1991), or newer developments such as quantum criminology (Milovanovic, 2013). Nonetheless, we provide a critical explanation of some key texts, while pointing to current trends and future directions for critical criminology to consider and further develop.
The chapter begins with an understanding of what the critical turn in criminological scholarship means. Then it examines the foundations of critical thinking by examining the basics of the work of Marx and related approaches to studying criminology including the difference between instrumental and structural Marxism. It then examines the work of Foucault and his contemporaries. Here we explain the difference between Marxist power and Foucault’s conception of disciplinary power. The chapter then examines the contemporary abolitionist thought as central to critical criminology moving forward. The chapter ends with a description of the use of freedom of information requests and computational methods as it relates to critical criminology research.
how individuals shape their conduct to line up with expert knowledge and rules of discourse.