In the Journals

In the Journals – April 2015

A fully armed MQ-9 Reaper taxis down an Afghanistan runway

Welcome back to In the Journals, a monthly review of just a fraction of the most recent academic research on security, crime, policing, and the law. With winter semesters coming to an end and summers plans beginning to come together, we hope you’ll have a bit of free time to see what these new publications have to offer.

This month’s issue of Punishment & Society contains an article by Rik Peeters entitled “The price of prevention: The preventative turn in crime policy and its consequences for the role of the state”. Although prevention may be a logical answer to the increased crime and security issues of late-modern societies, Peeters argues that it also comes at a price. Drawing on a case study of Dutch crime policy, the article shows how prevention both complements and contradicts the classic judicial approach under the rule of law, by identifying that it is the executive power and the public order that are most pivotal and of greatest concern. With regards to the approach to crime, executive power becomes the most pivotal approach to crime over the judge or judicial apparatus. With regards to concern, public order takes precedence over legal order. Peeters therefore addresses the fact that we are developing towards a ‘guided society’, in which citizens have nothing to fear as long as they have nothing to hide – that is, as long as they do not pose an increased risk to society as a whole.

In that same issue, Teresa Degenhardt examines how a discourse of crime and justice is beginning to play a significant role in justifying international military operations. Her article “Crime, justice and the legitimacy of military power in the international sphere” suggests that although the coupling of war with crime and justice is not a new phenomenon, its present manifestations invite careful consideration of the connection between crime and political theory. By reviewing the notion of sovereignty, and then looking at the history of the criminalisation of war and the emergence of new forms to constrain sovereign states, Degenhardt examines the way in which military forced has been authorised in specific contexts. Looking at Iraq, Libya and through drones in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia, Degenhardt argues that the contemporary coupling of military technology with notions of crime and justice allows for the reiteration of the perpetration of crimes by the powerful and the representation of violence as pertaining to specific dangerous populations in the space of the international.

The April issue of Security Dialogue features an article entitled “Iterations of Olympic security: Montreal and Vancouver”. Authors Philip Boyle, Dominique Clément, and Kevin D. Haggerty compare the security dynamics at the 1976 Montreal and 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. A comparative-historical study of the two largest peacetime security operations in Canadian history offers unique insights into the challenges of hosting a major international gathering in the aftermath of an international terrorist incident: the 1972 Munich massacre and the 11 September 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. Drawing on an impressive collection of archive material, including more than 50,000 pages of documents on security planning for the Montreal Olympics, the comparison offers an opportunity to chart the continuities and differences in Olympic security over time. With their massive investments of dollars and personnel, and ability to focus the combined energies of a dispersed network of influential security experts, the Olympics provide a glimpse into the most painstaking security planning outside of warfare. Focusing on how the historical context of each of these events informed “imaginaries of disaster”, Boyle, Clément, and Haggerty contextualize how an increasing number sporting events and political summits are being viewed through the lens of high-risk aversion.

The upcoming issue of European Journal of Social Theory contains an article by Clare Birchall entitled “‘’: Delimiting transparency”,and examines data-driven transparency models in governance. Birchall notes that given that the Obama administration still relies on many strategies we would think of as sitting on the side of secrecy, it seems that the only lasting transparency legacy of the Obama administration will be data-driven or e-transparency as exemplified by the web interface ‘’ – the home of the U.S. Government’s open data. Her article explores the implications of responsibilization, outsourcing, and commodification on the contract of representational democracy and asks if there are other forms of transparency that might better resist neoliberal formations and re-politicize the public sphere. As this data-driven transparency model is exported and beings to assume an increasingly ascendant position worldwide, Birchall argues that it is imperative that we ask what kind of publics, subjects, and indeed, politics this process will produce.

Kathryn J. Fox’s “Trying to Restore Justice: Bureaucracies, Risk Management, and Disciplinary Boundaries in New Zealand Criminal Justice” in the upcoming May issue of International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology examines the restorative justice conferences of New Zealand’s youth justice system. Despite its prominence in the youth justice system of New Zealand, restorative justice has yet to overwhelm the adult criminal justice system. Fox argues that bureaucratic silos make it challenging to determine if restorative practice might fit within a rehabilitation or reintegration framework. Based on interviews in New Zealand with correctional staff, restorative justice providers, and others, this article explores the reason for the modest inroads that restorative practice has made, and suggests that the general context may explain the limits of restorative justice in other places. The article also addresses that an overarching preoccupation with risk management orients correctional practice toward treatment curbs alternatives to punishment in correctional practices.

This article was shared on our active Twitter feed, but I felt compelled to include it in this month’s roundup as well. Published by SAGE Open, a peer-reviewed, open access journal from SAGE, Toby Miles-Johnson’s “Policing Transgender People: Discretionary Police Power and the Ineffectual Aspirations of One Australian Police Initiative” analyzes a police policy document to assess how one police agency’s policy aspires to shape police contact/experiences with transgender people and how this document might shape intergroup identity differences between transgender people and the police. Differential policing has been a salient experience for members of transgender communities. As individuals who express gender in ways that can be seen by some as deviating from the norm, they have experienced numerous documented cases of police mismanaged practice. In Australia, reform in the policing of diverse community groups has been difficult as new initiatives implemented to educate police officers about diverse groups such as transgender communities are scarce. While police policy documents often articulate strategies and approaches that police organizations want to implement in their efforts to break down barriers with minority groups, most of these documents serve as a reflection of the aspirations of the agency and not necessarily the practice of the officers. Miles-Johnson argues that using this document to reform the policing of transgender people will be problematic, specifically due to the fact that document lacks substantial procedural guidelines regarding interaction with transgender people and may not favorably constrain discretionary police power.

Out of a growing number of book reviews, it is always rather difficult to pick only a couple to share with our readers. The aforementioned issue of Punishment & Society features a detailed review article by Elizabeth Joh of Robert J. Kane and Michael D. White’s book “Jammed Up: Bad Cops, Police Misconduct, and the New York City Police Department” . The term “jammed up” refers to departmental decisions to investigate alleged police misconduct, and Kane and White’s inquiry into what constitutes “good policing” brings to light that it is not simply the absence of police misconduct. With regards to police behaviour and “proper” conduct, Elizabeth Joh writes in her critical assessment of the book: “Being ‘jammed up’ tells us something, but not everything, about policing in a democratic society”. The May issue of Acta Sociologica offers a critical review by May-Len Skilbrei of “Drug Mules: Women in the International Cocaine Trade” by Jennifer Fleetwood. The book offers a comprehensive analysis of the narratives of women imprisoned in Ecuador for transporting drugs across borders, and sets out to unpack is how we can understand appropriately the relationship between structural inequalities, experiences with exploitation, and agency on the part of the female ‘drug mules’.

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.

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