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Critical Criminology and Social Justice Research Group

Unit(s) of assessment: Social Work and Social Policy

Research theme: Safety and Security of Citizens and Society

School: School of Social Sciences


Through its research, the Critical Criminology and Social Justice Research Group aims to challenge conventional understandings of crime, deviance, and the social processes of criminalisation; question the assumptions, concepts and categories through which criminology frames its concerns; and the methods by which it seeks to arrive at these understandings. The group also seeks to look beyond official crime statistics and criminal justice policies and practices to influence policymaking on the basis of theoretically and empirically driven analyses of crime in contemporary society.

Theoretically, our work is collectively informed by a diverse range of theoretical frameworks including, but not limited to, cultural, feminist, integrative, Marxist, peace-making, postmodernist, left-realist, green criminology and penology. Our research seeks to challenge legislative definitions of crime, problematise the limitations of ‘crime’ as a centre of analysis, and focus instead on issues of social harm and social justice, including those that explore the intersecting lines of class, gender, race/ethnicity and sexuality.

Methodologically, the group is interested in alternative methodologies with a strong tendency toward qualitative and mixed methods of investigation and interpretation; narrative methods, documentary methods, participatory action research, digital ethnographies, unstructured interviews and autoethnographies. Our work aims to find creative and cooperative solutions to justice problems and find strategies for the construction of a more inclusive society.

Our key aims can be summarised as:

  • Challenge traditional understandings of crime and deviance.
  • Influence Policymaking toward new conceptions of criminal and social justice.
  • Benefit researchers and professionals interested in alternative methodologies and theories.

Areas of Research

  • Gender, race and class inequalities
  • Narrative and cultural criminology
  • Social Exclusion and marginalisation
  • Secondary victimisation & co-victims
  • Technology-enhanced abuse
  • Active citizenship and identity
  • Phenomenological criminology and Labeling Theories
  • Prison Education and Social Justice
  • Green Criminology
  • Policing and regulation

Related staff


Core Members