Criminology

Our growing Criminology list takes a critical stance and features boundary-pushing work with innovative, research-led publications.  

A particular focus of the list are books that engage with our global social challenges, both on a local and international level. We aim to publish books in a wide range of formats that will have real impact and shape public discourse. 

Criminology

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With the study of law’s relationship with racial justice in mind, this chapter draws on theories of antiracism and progressive lawyering to set out four principles for antiracist lawyering: reflection, creativity, collaboration, and accountability. It argues that lawyers who wish to promote racial justice should engage in reflection, should adopt creative approaches to lawyering, should collaborate, and should remain accountable to their clients.

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This concluding chapter summarizes the analysis throughout the book, drawing on the case of Shamima Begum to highlight the limits of law in the struggle for racial justice. It also considers how law has been used to advance racial justice in former colonies of the British Empire. It considers the legal case for reparations for slavery, the use of law to secure compensation for victims of racial injustices in Kenya, and the use of law to challenge the death penalty in Barbados, a vestige of colonial rule.

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The introduction draws attention to the paradoxical nature of the relationship between law and racial justice, highlighting how the law can be used to both help and hinder the struggle for racial justice. We might assume that the legal system will be allied to the idea of racial justice because it is said to be underpinned by the principles of neutrality and fairness, and there are various Acts of Parliament that appear to give effect to these principles such as the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010. However, there are examples of law failing to advance racial justice and sometimes facilitating racial injustices. The Introduction sets out the central contention of this book: that there are historical, cultural, and systemic reasons for the limits of law.

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This chapter sets out some definitional and conceptual issues. It defines the term racial justice and outlines six key concepts of Critical Race Theory that underpin the analysis in the rest of the book: structural racism, the social construction of race and racism, intersectionality, interest-convergence, lived theory, and the inherent limits of legal processes. It also outlines the problems with ubiquitous terms such as BAME, equality, diversity, and inclusion.

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As the British Empire disintegrated in the aftermath of the world wars in the first half of the 1900s, immigration laws were developed which replicated the effect of colonial rule. These laws maintained the two-tiered legal system that had developed during colonial rule, ensuring that people racialized as something other than ‘White British’ were denied the full protection of the law. Yet at the same time, laws to promote good race relations were introduced, which appeared to make the legal system a tool for racial justice, rather than racial injustice. It is with this in mind that we can better understand racial injustices today, in education, criminal justice, employment, housing, and healthcare systems.

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This chapter is concerned with the use of law to create and perpetuate racial injustices during the era of the British Empire. It explores the use of law to justify and facilitate imperialism and colonial rule and to legitimize slavery. It considers how law was used to impose social control over indigenous populations and the ways in which law created the phenomenon of structural racism. In effect, a two-tiered legal system was created: one for those classed as White British, and another more disadvantageous system for those classed as something other than White British.

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Racial justice is never far from the headlines. The Windrush Scandal, the toppling of the statue of Edward Colston and racism within the police have all recently captured the public’s attention and generated legal action. But, although the ideals of the legal system such as fairness and equality, seem allied to the struggle for racial justice, all too often campaigners have been let down by the system.

This book examines law’s troubled relationship with racial justice. It explains that law’s historical role in creating and perpetuating racial injustices continues to stifle its ability to advance the cause of racial justice today.

Both a lawyer’s guide to anti-racism and an anti-racist’s guide to legal action, it unites these perspectives to help both groups understand how to use the law to tackle racial injustices.

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The legal system today appears to promote racial justice, through laws that prohibit racial discrimination and race hate crimes, for example. The law also requires public authorities to take proactive steps to advance racial equality and to foster good race relations. As this chapter illustrates, though, there are limits to the use of law. In education, criminal justice, employment, healthcare, and housing, legal authorities have been unable or unwilling to grapple with the six concepts of Critical Race Theory set out in Chapter 1: the problem of structural racism, the social construction of race and racism, intersectionality, interest-convergence, lived theory, and the limits of adversarial legal processes.

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This chapter summarises Chapters 3–6 under the categories of the proposed three aspects of planning – two of which have been present, in various guises, since the start of the book – what/who matters (central to Archer’s model of reflexivity and planning, and richly discussed by care-leavers in this study), and a sense of personal time and planning (initially via some care-leavers’ scepticism about future-oriented planning), and the third, shared deliberation and shared planning strongly ‘present’ in the secondary analyses in Chapters 3–6. These three aspects (of planning) might each be viewed as strengths, in contrast to the view that ‘lack’ of future-oriented planning might be regarded as a vulnerability. The chapter, read together with Chapter 8, can provide a ‘live iteration’ in which qualitative data are summarised from Chapters 3–6 and, in Chapter 8, the work of Michael Bratman is discussed, whose work interplays in a deeply fascinating way with the voices of the young people in Chapters 3–6. His idea of the ‘remarkable trio of capacities’ for planning is a major source of the idea of the three-aspects model of planning for this book, in interplay with Archer’s work on reflexivity in social context, and re-imagined via young people’s sense of personal time.

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Care-leavers interviewed in our studies expressed strong emotions. When participants articulated what and who matters, this was usually done with deep feeling. When forward planning was discussed, some participants powerfully rejected the idea of planning ahead. Moreover, the research interview’s focus on internal conversations often triggered discussions about very strong, often profound, accounts of emotions linked to birth parents and siblings, foster parents and foster siblings, peers and friends, and sometimes services and professionals. In this chapter, following philosopher Martha Nussbaum’s work, emotions are framed as ‘suffused with intelligence and discernment’. Furthermore, the chapter ‘grapple[s] with the messy material of grief and love, anger and fear’, and stretches our senses of time by reminding us that healing usually takes time, and that young people in transition from care may have much experience of the details of emotions, time, and planning. Building also on work by philosopher Matthew Ratcliffe on emotional intentionality, emphasis is placed in this chapter on the circumstances of being in care and leaving care (see Chapter 1), which can involve multiple emotion ruptures during childhood and adolescence, and then the complex process of transition (from out-of-home care) itself, and emerging adulthood as an opportunity to make sense of, revise, reframe, and form new and renewed relationships, and plan – in the broadest and most flexible sense.

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