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Author: Rob White

Climate change continues to be the most significant and urgent matter of our time. Global warming is not ‘natural’. It is human made. The resultant climate change is distorting what used to be the familiar patterns of weather. All of this is entirely due to the continued collusion of national and state/provincial leaders with the fossil fuel industries and other degraders of the environment. Yet even in the face of these contemporary changes, the Earth continues to be a battleground where plundering of resources and pollution of the planet is rampant and inexorably moving towards an even more radically altered ecological state. Prominent world leaders are diminishing emission controls and environmental protections, burning forests and fracking oils, and actively encouraging violence against Indigenous peoples and local farmers. Much of this occurs in so-called rural and remote locations, away from prying media eyes and governmental purview. The geographies of ecocide provide insight into how crimes of the powerful are perpetrated and communities victimised. This chapter considers questions of eco-justice from the point of view of place and ‘sights unseen’.

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Author: Andrew Wooff

Scotland is classed as 94 per cent rural, with 18 per cent of the population living in inaccessible and remote rural locations. Policing in these contexts requires the use of discretion, order maintenance and an intricate knowledge of the rural communities being policed. Policing in Scotland has undergone significant changes since 2013, with eight forces being amalgamated to form a single police force. With large societal changes, including the COVID-19 pandemic, rural communities have undergone significant transitions in the way they interact with law enforcement. Not only has this led to a reorganisation of how policing is done nationally, but it has also impacted on the way rural communities are policed and the context for social control in these locations. Utilising the theoretical concepts of ‘abstract policing’ and the ‘totality of rural space’, this chapter brings together data collected across two case studies in rural Scotland to consider the importance of different rural contexts for understanding rural policing and examine how organisational change and COVID-19 have impacted on police–community relations.

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Empirical and theoretical work on woman abuse in rural and remote places increased dramatically in the latter part of the 2010s. There is now strong international evidence showing that rural women are at higher risk of experiencing rapes, beatings and other types of male-to-female assaults than are women who reside in more densely populated area. Moreover, most of the studies and theories produced to date are informed by feminist ways of knowing and prioritise the gendered nature of woman abuse. The objectives of this chapter are twofold: to review the extant feminist social scientific literature on woman abuse in rural and remote places; and to suggest new research trajectories.

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Author: Vania Ceccato

Rural crime and safety is a neglected area of research. This chapter challenges the notion of a rural idyll and other assumptions of crime and safety in rural environments by highlighting 15 reasons why scholars, decision-makers and society as a whole should care about victimisation and safety perceptions of people living in the rural–urban continuum. It considers why rural crime is worth investigating, taking each reason in turn and applying an international lens. The chapter discusses common misconceptions concerning rural crime and safety and, in so doing, makes a powerful case for far greater attention to the dynamics of crime and safety for those living in the rural–urban continuum and, more importantly, engaging societal and academic action into this process. It concludes by drawing attention to the contemporary dynamics of rural areas and calls for new societal and academic action to make crime and safety in the countryside a subject worth examining in its own right.

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This chapter contemplates the past, present and future of rural criminology, considering its transformation from a niche area of interest in the criminological field, oft overlooked, to what has become a burgeoning subdiscipline in its own right with an enviable growth trajectory. It reflects on the chance encounters that have brought together scholars and others from disparate academic spaces and geographic places to study rural crime. In so doing, it considers the notion of borders in a globalised world, the role and importance of networks, rural criminology as public criminology. The chapter contemplates what the future might hold, and recommends several actions to facilitate its advancement well into the twenty-first century. Even in a globalised world, both physical and intangible borders persist. Sometimes these borders can be glaringly obvious, some are curious, and others are controversial and contentious both historically and now. Borders also serve as metaphors for the divisions imposed in the academy. The chapter muses on how rural criminology provides an effective crossing of our own boundaries, and in the process how it has created an inclusive and dynamic space for research, scholarship and practice.

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Authors: Matt Bowden and Artur Pytlarz

Late-modern times have been described as a ‘runaway world’; fast paced, globalised and consumerist. The transition to this stage of modernity, it is held, has been made possible by advances in computer technology and telecommunications that would transform the nature of work, leisure, consumption and, more importantly for our purposes, the relationship between the citizen and the state. Capturing the criminological implications of some of these changes, various criminologists have described how citizens in a hollowed out, smaller nation state, could not expect that state to provide security: that would now be the responsibility of the citizen to self-discipline and to fit themselves with security gadgetry for their own protection. This chapter draws a conceptual map of theories of late modernity and applies them to the nature of transformations in the rural. A theoretical case is developed, based upon ongoing empirical work in a highly globalised society with that has undergone a high-tech–driven economic growth, colliding both urban and rural worlds. The chapter considers how security responsibilisation becomes manifest in the rural, centring on the inclusion (and potential exclusion) of rural citizens in information flows.

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Author: James Windle

Left realism originated as an applied theory to support communities to tackle crime in British working-class urban areas. While there are challenges to transferring theory from one context (British urban) to another (Irish rural), using Ireland as a case study this chapter argues for the value of a left realist approach to agricultural theft. The objective of this chapter is to take a small step towards rectifying the hidden nature of agricultural theft, and fear of theft by ironing out some conceptual, theoretical and methodological issues. The chapter begins with a review of Irish and international farm victimisation surveys. The core concepts of left realism are then summarised and its lessons are applied to agricultural theft. The final section draws lessons for Ireland from the international literature and proposes a left realist research agenda.

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This chapter focuses on the provision of punishment (specifically imprisonment) in rural settings, considering the roles of politics and populism in the delivery of justice outcomes and the impacts on rural communities. It conceptualises the politics of punishment in three key areas: public sentiments and punitive attitudes; the political and socio-economic influences on prison siting in rural areas; and rural prison and post-release challenges. It argues that governmental decision-making often is led by economic factors without necessarily considering social impacts, and that considerations of rural punishment and prisons are both complex and nuanced.

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The shape of rural communities depends greatly on what is practised everyday by rural people. In addition to everyday life, rural areas are structured by the actions of states, by the economy and technology – and so we must regard the rural as a distinct socio-spatiality. Moreover, the rural is connected to and shaped by local and global forces that organise both in and beyond its boundaries. The rural therefore intersects with economy, environment and politics at the macro level, but also with gender, class and ethnicity and with struggles for power, resources and identity that shapes its cohesion and (in)security. This chapter is structured in three parts. First, it reflects upon the rural as a socio-spatial nexus comprised of rural practices and shaped by the external world and the state. Here, the chapter reflects further on the shared space between rural and green criminology with reference to the Anthropocene. Second, it considers some of the ways in which the rural and rural people are represented in popular discourse. It contemplates some of these themes through the lens of rural criminology. Third, the chapter provides an overview of the various contributions in this book.

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This chapter has two main aims: to scrutinise how structural factors and representations of the rural intersect with everyday police work; and to consider how police work in rural areas interrelates with and impacts other sectors in society, and how transformation occurs in several dimensions. It seeks to contribute to the broader field of rural policing within the Swedish context and to the development of theories initiated in various studies considered. Drawing from literature on spatial power relations and the threefold modelling of rural space, this chapter will also connect to the strand of research involving rural–urban power relations including spatial inequalities and outcomes.

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