Insurgent Criminology in a Period of Open Social War

Jeff Shantz


Criminology has throughout its history been a dualist field of knowledge proceeding along distinct, often separate tracks. On the one hand is academic criminology based in institutions of post-secondary education or public policy. On the other hand is a community criminology, often insurgent, coming from and expressing the experiences of people and communities subjected to the violence of the state and institutions of criminal justice. This goes back to the early days of criminology when the first and sharpest criticisms of academic criminology—such as that of Lombroso, for example—were being provided by insurgent criminologists, primarily anarchists like Peter Kropotkin and criminalized rebels. Today these dual tracks stand in somewhat stark contrast as community movements opposing state violence and brutality, from Black Lives Matter to Idle No More to new poor people’s movements, are developing and asserting some of the strongest and most incisive analyses and opposition to systems and institutions of criminal justice in liberal democracies like Canada and the US.

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ISSN 1929-7904
(Print) | ISSN 1929-7912 (Online)