Public Criminology in the Cold City: Engagement and Possibility

Bryan Hogeveen, Andrew Woolford


This paper, an exercise in autoethnography, examines how our public criminological engagement with inner city criminal justice agencies influenced our conceptualization of the “cold city” – a term we use to describe the shifting conditions of care in urban environments whereby one is compelled to feel less responsible for the concrete (as opposed to abstract and generalized) lives of others. In particular, we explore the frustrations of public criminology, as efforts to envision justice anew and facilitate care come up against the structural limitations of the bureaucratic field in its contemporary neoliberal guise. In such circumstances, critical scholarship offers an outlet for contending with these frustrations, but also a means for imagining novel justice possibilities and revised forms of public criminological engagement.


Public Criminology; Social Services; Inner City; Neoliberalism; Ethic of Care; Autoethnography

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