Article

Public Criminology

Michelle Inderbitzin

in Criminology

ISBN: 9780195396607
Published online June 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396607-0137
Public Criminology

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Public criminology means different things to different people, and some scholars use the plural term public criminologies to indicate that there are multiple publics and many possible interpretations of how to bridge the gap between academic criminology and public discourse. The current discussion of public criminology shares many ideas and points with the debate over public sociology, which Michael Burawoy has championed in a number of forums. To distinguish public sociology from other forms of sociological work, Burawoy divides sociology into four broad categories: professional sociology, critical sociology, policy sociology, and public sociology. While he uses a two-by-two table to conceptualize the different cells academics might work in and move through, Christopher Uggen and Michelle Inderbitzin prefer to represent the corresponding areas of criminology as a Venn diagram, where categories may overlap and individuals may be involved in professional, critical, policy, and public criminology to varying degrees. While the practice of public criminology will not appeal to all scholars in the field, those with the interests and skills to carry criminological theories and research into the public debate offer an important service. Among other tasks, they may debunk myths and help to reframe the cultural image of the criminal, they may offer social facts on crime and punishment and bring context to highly sensationalized cases, they may work with communities to compile data and answer pressing questions, and they may bring the best available evidence to conversations and debate on issues of criminal justice public policy.

Article.  5412 words. 

Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice ; Criminal Justice ; Criminology

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