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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.


UKRI Early Career Researcher Forum Pilot Week

On Monday 22nd of February, the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has launched a national forum for all UK-based postdocs and pre-tenure faculty and researchers. The forum aims to give researchers a voice in UKRI’s strategy, policy development and decision making, connect the diverse communities within UKRI and build a community to benefit from peer interactions, learning and support opportunities.

The forum has followed the publication of UKRI’s action plan on the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers in July 2020.The action plan outlines UKRI’s commitment to working collaboratively with researchers, as well as other funders and employers of researchers, in co-creating its response to the concordat.

Dr Hind Elhinnawy, co-director of the Critical Criminology and Social Justice Research Group, and a lecturer in Criminology has been selected amongst 3000 academics and researchers from around the UK to take part in this pilot. She has been involved in focus groups to provide her perspectives on research-related topics such as UKRI’s strategy and decision making. The forum also provided a great platform for Hind to connect with and learn from other academics and  researchers with whom she shares similar research interests and as such will support her own research development career.

Applications to join the forum can be found here.

For further information and guidance can be found here.

Pilot Study

We are thrilled to share the news that Elhinnawy, Dr Hind Elhinnawy, Dr Morag Kennedy and Dr Silvia Gomes have been awarded internal NTU QR funding in the latest round. They have been awarded just under £3000 to fund research assistance days to support a pilot study which aims to identify the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic and government-led responses to it are deepening pre-existing experiences of social, psychological and economic inequalities, exclusion and vulnerability. It will draw on interviews, focus groups and ‘photovoice’ with vulnerable women.

Dr Andy Newton and Dr Jenny Mackay (Psychology) have also been awarded just under £3000 to fund research assistance days to support work on a Full Systematic Review of domestic abuse perpetrator programmes. Andy was also awarded funding in December 2020 to conduct research titled: ‘Reducing Serious Violence: Identifying and responding to the spatial intersection of crime, poor health and health and inequality.’

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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