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  • Author or Editor: Martin Glynn x
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Mauthner and Doucet (2003) argue that though the importance of being reflexive is acknowledged within social science research, the difficulties, practicalities, and methods of doing it are rarely addressed. Thus, the implications of current theoretical and philosophical discussions about reflexivity, epistemology, and the construction of knowledge for empirical sociological research practice, specifically the analysis of qualitative data, remain underdeveloped. Mauthner and Doucet further argue that data analysis methods are not mere neutral techniques, but are imbued with theoretical, epistemological, and ontological assumptions – including conceptions of subjects and subjectivities, and understandings of how knowledge is constructed and produced. Similarly, Dean (2017) argues that reflexivity is vital in social research projects, but there remains relatively little advice on how to execute it in practice. Dean further calls for social science researchers to embrace the importance of thinking reflexively. Reflexivity is a vital source of my own continuing development given the complex nature of conducting race-specific research as a black male criminologist from an inner city background. Presenting ‘self’ in research, therefore, becomes an important modus operandi for researchers wanting to explore how a black art infused criminology can enhance or hinder notions of the academic identity. When an individual breaks the law, they are arrested, face a (performed) trial in front of an audience (jury), where characters (witnesses) are called into a staged scene (courtroom) to present both sides of the accused’s life and behaviours (backstory). The resulting outcome is either freedom, or loss of liberty, if found guilty.

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Gabbidon et al (2004) understand that in spite of the moderate gains made to increase the inclusivity of black scholars in relation to criminology and criminal justice, more needs to be done to incorporate perspectives and theoretical ideas that deviate from so-called ‘mainstream criminology’. Fanon (1952: 3) begins to unpack and set a tone for further discussion when he writes:

The white man is sealed in his whiteness
The Black man in his blackness
We shall seek to ascertain the directions of this ‘dual narcissism
And the motivations that inspire it.

The significance of Fanon’s position is in the envisioning of a critical race criminological imagination that requires a struggle to end any criminological hegemony that desires to subordinate the black voice within the discipline. Zinn (1959) has a word of caution for so-called mainstream criminology’s currently monopoly on the discipline and argues that the day-to-day discipline centring on issues of race and racialization should depend on the compliance of a vast number of people. When that compliance is withdrawn, en masse, even force is inadequate to hold back the impulse for justice. Zinn clearly understands that exclusion of a diverse range of criminological theories and perspectives can only lead to division and internal conflict among those who ultimately have one common aim, to ensure the understandings and insights around crime and criminal justice are strong, unified, and robust. Gilroy (1987) argues that ‘race’ must be retained as an analytic category, not because it corresponds to any biological or epistemological absolute, but because it refers investigation to the power that collective identities acquire by means of their roots in tradition.

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