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Spring Term 2016

21 January Professor Susanne Karstedt (School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University, Australia) On the importance of values: Solidarity and punishment in contemporary societies

Abstract: How important are values in shaping the penal landscape? Are they powerful determinants of imprisonment, prison conditions and more generally of the level of punitiveness in societies? Commitment to welfare and human rights regimes, and a particular brand of European values of solidarity, have been named as decisive in restraining punitiveness in Europe (Snacken and Dumortier), epitomized by the low imprisonment rates in Scandinavian welfare states. Recent reports on UK prisons mention solidarity as a core value for punishment and imprisonment.  However, what does solidarity actually mean in contemporary societies? What kind of values does solidarity encompass and how can these impact on the penal landscape and decision making?  The paper presents a comparative study of European countries, different dimensions of solidarity values and their impact on the penal landscape and punitiveness in these countries.


4 February Dr. Vanessa Barker (Associate Professor of Sociology, Stockholm University, Sweden) Crimmigration in Sweden: Bans on Begging and the Logic of Benevolent Violence

Abstract: This paper documents how crimmigration operates in Sweden, particularly as it impacts the Roma, ethnic minorities migrating from European Union member states and other European countries. It analyses the proposed bans on begging and practices of deportation and shows how these measures tend to be justified by a desire to uphold human dignity and the rights of others. To explain and understand this counterintuitive logic, the paper introduces the concept of benevolent violence to capture how forms of state violence such as restrictions on mobility and the infringement on individual liberty and autonomy, can be motivated by a state’s perceived goodness, altruism and concern for the welfare of others. The paper then discusses how these developments in Sweden fit within a broader political and economic context and their implications for the European project.


18 February Professor Nigel South (Department of Sociology, University of Essex) Climate change, authoritarianism and denial: Disconnected policy, free trade and ecocidal trends

Abstract: This presentation discusses lack of serious engagement with the prospect of climate change among the public and international trade bodies, within the context of current ecocidal trends.


3 March Professor Sandra Walklate (Eleanor Rathbone Chair of Sociology, University of Liverpool) Bare your body, bare your soul? The historical traces of war’s violence(s) on violence against women

Abstract: In this presentation I want to discuss a photograph. It is a picture that featured on the front page of La Provence in Avignon in the summer of 2014 on the day the city marked the 70th anniversary of its liberation. The woman, a ‘collabos’, is being escorted by men, naked, through the streets of Avignon past male onlookers to the Palace de Papes, where her head is to be shaved. I want to use this photograph as a device for exploring the connections between the violence of war and the ongoing intransigence of violence against women that appears to transcend cultural borders. (I use this photograph with the permission of the Archives de la ville d’Avignon 49Fi212, Phot. DR. It is unknown who took the original but it was taken on 25th August 1944.)


10 March Professor Peter Kraska (School of Justice Studies, Eastern Kentucky University, USA) Academic Complicity in U.S. Police Militarization

Abstract: The earliest research on U.S. police militarization discovered a close - perhaps even symbiotic - relationship between the militarized policing trend and the so-called "community policing revolution." Contrary to the often-discussed theme of incoherence in late-modern criminal justice policy, it appeared that police practitioners had melded a seeming ideological contradiction (a democratic vs. a military model) into a rational operating logic that made theoretical sense to ground-level workers. This paper explores the possibility that this should not be interpreted as simply an in-the-field concocted quest for coherence. Rather, I will explore the argument that it was -- and continues to be -- a particular strain of academic and public scholarship literature (and federal grant/consulting work) that actively promoted a militaristic approach under the guise of democratic community policing. I will also discuss the disastrous consequences (both intended and unintended) of this complicity.


17 March Professor Phil Scraton (School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast) Hillsborough: Resisting Injustice, Uncovering Truth

Abstract: 15 April 1989: an inescapable crush on the terraces at Hillsborough Stadium at an FA Cup Semi-Final led to the deaths of 96 men, women and children. Hundreds of Liverpool fans were injured, thousands traumatised. Throughout the investigations and inquiries, those who died and survived were vilified amid police allegations of drunkenness, violence, criminal and abusive behaviour. The families’ unrelenting campaign for truth recovery led to disclosure of all existing documents to an Independent Panel. Its definitive report revealed institutional mendacity, corrupted evidence and partial investigation. This brought an unreserved Government apology, an ongoing criminal investigation into all agencies involved and an unprecedented IPCC investigation into 2,000 police officers. It also led to new inquests, commencing March 2014 through to 2016. Author of the highly acclaimed Hillsborough: The Truth, Phil Scraton, Professor of Criminology, Queen’s University, headed the Panel’s research and was primary author of its report. He has also been advisor to the families’ legal teams throughout the inquests. In this talk he reflects on the long-term campaign for truth, details the Panel’s extensive findings and analyses the new inquests and their outcome. Finally, he examines the impact of his critical research and truth recovery for challenging institutional injustice and holding State institutions to account.