In the Journals

In the Journals, Spring 2014

Welcome back to In the Journals, a round-up of some of the latest publications tackling questions of crime, law and order, justice, policing, surveillance and the state. Should you find yourself with some reading time over the summer, here is a selection of some recent articles and reviews from recent months that grapple with these themes from different perspectives.


The May issue of Crime, Law and Social Change is dedicated to “Policing the Southern China Seaboard”, including historical, ethnographic and macro-analyses of forms of policing in the region. For example, Jeffrey Martin and Wayne Chan’s article “Hong-Kong-Style Community Policing” explores the policing of a traditional wholesale fruit market located in a densely populated neighborhood of urban Hong Kong. Through a study of Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market community policing, they identify crucial features in the contemporary policing system that emerge from a fusion between the democratic ethos of community policing ideals and non-democratic aspects of local administration in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

In the June issue of the same journal, Carlos Antonio Flores Pérez’s “Political Protection and the Origins of the Gulf Cartel” examines the history of drug trafficking in Mexico, exploring the hypothesis that some political figures might have been colluding with members of criminal organizations, with the aim of protecting their businesses and fostering their consolidation. The analysis considers these relationships in the course of three decades, the 1960s through the 1990s, and focuses on the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, where one of the most powerful and dangerous organized crime groups emerged, the so-called Gulf Cartel.

The month of May also saw the publication of a special issue of Theoretical Criminology dealing with “Visual Culture and the Iconography of Crime and Punishment”, analyzing the role of images in producing new perspectives for criminology as a whole. For instance, Eamonn Carrabine’s article “Seeing Things: Violence, Voyeurism and the Camera” examines some of the relationships between photography and criminology as they have evolved over time to enable a richer understanding of how the modern criminal subject is constructed and how archival practices have a significant bearing on how meanings are organized. He develops these arguments by focusing on the controversies generated by four images that are among the most astonishing documents to have survived Auschwitz, providing visual evidence of the ‘crime of crimes’.

The journal Qualitative Inquiry included in its April edition a special section on “Doing Prison Research Differently”, pointing to the challenges and possibilities of ethnographic prison research, including the role and position of the researcher and the possibilities of collaborative research with inmates. Particularly noteworthy is the article by Greg Newbold, Jeffrey Ian Ross, Richard Jones, Stephen Richards and Michael Lenza entitled “Prison Research from the Inside: The Role of Convict Autoethnography”, which discusses the establishment, in 1997, of “convict criminology,” a group of scholars producing research informed by their experiences of crime and the criminal justice process; that is, either those who have served time themselves or who have operated alongside prisoners as professionals in custodial settings. It is argued that such scholars face similar dilemmas to others in terms of emotionalism, but the passion engendered by the experience of incarceration can add color, context, and contour to data collection, findings, and analysis and may therefore be regarded as an essential thread in the tapestry of criminological inquiry.

The June issue of the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology includes an article by Camil Nakhid and Lily Tairiri Shorter on the “Narratives of Four Māori Ex-Inmates About Their Experiences and Perspectives of Rehabilitation Programmes”. The article focuses on the narratives of four Māori male ex-inmates about their reoffending and their experiences of the rehabilitation programmes during their incarceration. The stories revealed that a lack of financial resources and gang connections influenced reoffending; the value of prison rehabilitation programmes varied depending on their appropriateness to the inmate and to their intended outcomes; and healing programmes incorporating kaupapa Māori principles and practices assisted the participants in understanding their cultural heritage and communicating with society in more acceptable ways.

The 2014 volume of Champ Pénal contains a special issue on Imprisoned Parenthood” including two articles with English full-text. First, Manuela P. da Cunha and Rafaela Granja’s “Gender Asymmetries, Parenthood and Confinement in Two Portuguese Prisons”examines how confinement situations amplify the asymmetry between fatherhood as a more peripheral attribute in men’s conventional gender definitions than motherhood is in women’s. However, as prisons reflect structural variations, the very saliency of gender as a category of identity may be highly contextual. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in different periods in Portuguese carceral settings, the authors focus on variable aspects of motherhood and forms of relatedness in different imprisonment situations.

In the same issue, Shalha Talebi’s “Children as Protectors: The Conditions of Parenthood in a Political Prison in Iran” describes the condition of childhood and parenthood in Evin, one of the most notorious political prisons of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Combining research and the author’s own first-hand experience as a prisoner of conscience for over eight years, her account and analysis of unconventional kinship in prison draw on the stories of a few children with whom she lived part of my imprisonment and of their relationship with adults, including their parents, other inmates and prison officials. Foregrounding the performative role of language, this piece attempts to show how not only language, but children’s game – itself a form of language – and parents’ behaviors toward their children and one another, or in general life as we lived it, were all influenced by prison condition and the sociopolitical dynamic of the time.

The April issue of the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice contains an article by Alex Luscombe and Kevin Walby examining “Occupy Ottawa, Conservation Officers, and Policing Networks in Canada’s Capital City”. Luscombe and Walby examine National Capital Commission (NCC) conservation officers’ involvement in policing networks in Ottawa and, more specifically, NCC regulation of the Occupy movement in Canada’s capital city. They analyse conservation officer occurrence reports on Occupy Ottawa obtained through federal level access to information requests and results of interviews with NCC officers to demonstrate how NCC officers participate in campaigns for urban order, nuisance removal, and protest policing in a network including municipal and federal public police, private contract security, and federal intelligence agencies.

On the topic of Occupy, the latest issue of American Anthropologist includes a review by Gregory Reck of W. J. T. Mitchell, Bernard Harcourt and Michael Taussig’s “Occupy: Three Inquiries in Disobedience”. The same issue sees a slew of other justice, policing and security-related reviews including one by Syna Outtara of Sasha Newell’s “The Modernity Bluff: Crime, Consumption and Citizenship in Côte d’Ivoire”; John Carter’s review of Robert Brennemans’s “Homies and Hermanos: God and Gangs in Central America”; and a review by Edward Murphy of Clara Han’s “Life in Debt: Times of Care and Violence in Neoliberal Chile”.

The British Journal of Criminology has published in advance Paul Mutsaer’s article “An Ethnographic Study of the Policing of Internal Borders in the Netherlands”, which examines the tense contact between police and migrants. Mutsaers argues that in the Dutch context migrants are increasingly and deliberately targeted for control by numerous public, semi-public and private agencies, and explores the ramifications of such ‘internal border control’, arguing in favour of a synergy between criminological and anthropological work on this topic.

Finally, the journal Antipode has also published in advance the introduction to its forthcoming issue on “Grammars of Urban Injustice” online. Gordon MacLeod and Colin McFarlane’s introduction points to the ways in which scholars organize and deploy critical thinking and languages to elucidate and assess urban injustice and justice. The aim of the collection is to critically reflect not just on the terms we use to describe, explain and contest injustice, but the ways of thinking that give rise to those terms.

Something to look forward to.

As always, we welcome your feedback.  If you have any suggestions for journals we should be keeping tabs on for this feature, or if you want to call our attention to a specific issue or article, send an email to with the words “In the Journals” in the subject header.



One thought on “In the Journals, Spring 2014

  1. Pingback: DragNet: June 15 – 30, 2014 | Anthropoliteia

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