Exploring Urban Youth Culture Outside of the Gang Paradigm
Critical Questions of Youth, Gender and Race On-Road
Editors: , , and

10: Diary of an On-Road Criminologist: An Auto-Ethnographic Reflection


This chapter presents a reflexive account of an ‘on-road’ criminologist who has operated both in prisons and the streets for over four decades. The ‘on-road’ criminologist inhabits the world of his/her research participants. ‘On-road’ dialogue takes place in shopping centres, barbershops, bookies, car parks, street corners and other locations within the confines of the inner cities. In light of the proliferation of ‘county lines’, violence during the (COVID-19) lockdown and the growing sophistication of the digital space, ‘on-road’ criminological research is a vital component in the way we understand the changing nature of our inner cities, which moves beyond the traditional ethnographic encounter. The author argues that a critical aspect of being an ‘on-road’ researcher is in the sociocultural identification and articulation of ‘political Blackness’. Blackness centres on the understanding of the history of Black oppression and subordination, combined with acquiring the psychic tools and ability to transcend its impacts. Central to the proposition therefore laid out in this chapter is the way the narrative of the ‘on-road’ criminologist is produced and produces change within our understanding of inner-city life and the wider criminal justice system.

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