Cultural Criminology: Engaging With Race, Gender and Post-Colonial Identities?

Chris Cunneen, University of Sydney Law School
Julie Stubbs, University of Sydney

While Cultural Criminology is a somewhat open-ended enterprise, its proponents have set out some key tenets. For instance, it is said to explore 'the common ground between cultural and criminal practices in contemporary social life -- that is, between collective behaviour organized around imagery, style, and symbolic meaning, and that categorized by legal and political authorities as criminal' (Ferrell and Sanders 1995:3). We argue that it is also crucial to examine how, within particular parameters of race, gender, and class, harms can be concealed, dismissed or even justified. Becker's injunction to study not only criminal subcultures but also the legal and political authorities who constrct subcultures as criminal has been a powerful influence on the development of cultural criminology (Ferrell and Sanders 1995:6). However, it is equally important for cultural criminology to study and understand how power constructs and legitimises forms of social harm, in both symbolic and material ways. We focus on race, gender and the construction of post-colonial identities, and the consequences of such constructions for claims to justice by marginalised groups.

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Updated 05/20/2006