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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Obesity has become a global health epidemic and, as a result, a vivid debate about who bears responsibility has emerged. The book chapter elaborates on three fundamental elements that significantly influence agency in the context of food decisions: awareness and knowledge, the presence of alternatives, and addictive or addiction-like tendencies of human physiology and psychology. Under current conditions consumers do not have full agency to take full responsibility for obesity. Instead, corporations and governments play an active role in restoring consumer agency to make responsible food choices.

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The objective in this chapter is to review the history of slave labour in the cocoa industry, including forced labour and unpaid child labour, to illustrate how governments often collaborate with the cocoa industry to create and perpetuate these abuses. Slavery in the cocoa industray is a serious form of food crime affecting husdreds of thousands of workers in the cocoa industry. The chapter traces the history of slavery in the cocoa industry from the arrival of Europeans in the Americas in the late fifteenth century to its contemporary forms in West Africa. It illustrates the often explicit but somemtimes passive complicity of governments in creating and protecting the slave trade in the name of protecting both private commericial interests as well as the interests of the State. Some of the proposed solutions to ending the slave trade in the cocoa industry are also discussed.

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A joined up response is necessary to respond to the challenges of food crime. With the increasingly globalised food system, sharing of information between different regulatory and law enforcement bodies is necessary. One method of ensuring information sharing is through the construction of regulatory networks. This chapter examines different methods for constructing regulatory networks, with a particular focus on the EU. It considers both the advantages and disadvantages of networks in responding to breaches of food law, and considers four case studies; the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed; the Food Fraud Network; Co-ordinated Control Plans; and the Opson Operations. The chapter argues that, despite their weaknesses, regulatory networks are essential in dealing with modern food crimes and harms.

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Food safety scandals are recurring events in the food industry worldwide. Consumers and companies are not immune to these incidents. However, there is a paucity of studies that examine consumer responses toward food companies involved in food safety scandals. This chapter attempts to address these issues. First, it provides theoretical bases for the psychological mechanisms through which consumers form judgments of blame toward food brands involved in food safety scandals. Second, it clarifies how attributions of blame negatively affect relevant consumer non-behavioural responses (emotions and attitude) and behavioural responses (purchase intention, word-of-mouth, and boycott) toward faulty food brands. Third, it provides a literature review of the most relevant consumer-related, brand-related, and context-related variables, which may influence the psychological mechanisms of blame attribution, and subsequent non-behavioural and behavioural responses, in the context of a food safety incident.

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This book contextualises, evaluates, and problematises the (lack of) legal and regulatory organisation involved in the many processes of food production, distribution, and consumption. Turning a criminological gaze on the conditions under which food is (un)regulated, this book encompasses a range of discussions on the problematic conditions under which food (dis)connects with humanity and its consequences on public health and well-being, nonhuman animals, and the environment, often simultaneously. Influenced by critical criminology, social harm approach, green criminology, corporate criminology, and victimology, while engaging with legal, rural, geographic, and political sciences, the concept of food crime fuses diverse research by questioning issues of legality, criminality, deviance, harm, social justice, ethics, and morality within food systems. Evident problems range from food safety and food fraud, to illegal agricultural labour and state-corporate food crimes, to obesity and food deserts, to livestock welfare and genetically modified foods, to the role of agriculture in climate change and food waste, to food democracy and corporate co-optation of food movements. Theorising and researching these problems involves questioning the processes of lacking or insufficient regulation, absent or ineffective enforcement, resulting harms, and broader issues of governance, corruption, and justice. Due to the contemporary corporatisation of food and the subsequent distancing of humans from foodstuffs and food systems, not only is it important to think criminologically about food, but the criminological study of food may help make criminology relevant today.

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This chapter acknowledges the concept of food crime within the current global industrialised food system and explores three examples of crimes of consumption. A variety of acts of citizen resistance or ‘counter crimes’ in response to food crime are discussed. Counter crimes can be seen as a spectrum of acts of crime or disobedience, which have used food to make public statements. Both opposition and constructivist politics are employed in counter crime. Constructivist activities are incubators for the emergence of new food systems, while oppositional activities focus on the current food system. Constructivist efforts involve fostering and building different food systems for consumers, underpinned by democratic processes, for example farmer’s markets and community gardens. Actions underpinned by democratic principles, constitute a participatory movement whereby citizens exert some modicum of control over their food system. Collectively known as food democracy, it offers some hope in ‘re-making’ an honest food system.

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In December of 2016 the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s proposal to amend the Health of Animals Regulations was made public. Among the changes proposed is a reduction in the maximum amount of time animals can be transported without food or water. The timing of this proposal coincides with an on-going court case in Ontario that has come to be known as the ‘pig trial’. Anita Krajnc, an animal rights activist with Toronto Pig Save, has been charged with criminal mischief for providing water to pigs on a truck en route to slaughter. This chapter examines the Krajnc case and the newly proposed regulations from a green criminological perspective, and delves into the debate over what constitutes a food crime in the context of livestock transportation.

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Although an extensive literature examines how moral character and environmental context relates to ethical awareness, judgment and behaviour, very little work focuses on the ethics of farmers. Understanding farmer ethics is important because farmers face unique pressures and constraints that affect their ethical judgments and behaviours. Research shows that there are different types of ethical problems that farmers have to deal with, such as actions that cause harm or potential harm to others, the environment and non-human animals, and actions that are defined as wrong by law, contract or agreement. Important pressures and constraints affecting farmer ethics include increasing production costs and land prices, rising debt and worsening financial health, more stringent government rules and regulations, and reduced options for producing and marketing agricultural products.

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The fair trade movement is arguably one of the most successful social movements of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. A key goal of the movement is to offer both a theoretical and practical alternative to the existing power relations in global trade which are argued to structurally disadvantage producers in the global south. Fair trade can be seen as a response to systemic harms and injustices caused by the global food production and distribution system to the people involved in the food industry – rather than instances of food adulteration and the misrepresentation of food quality highlighted elsewhere in the food crimes literature. While championing the agenda of global trade reform alongside anti-globalisation, ethical consumption, and anti-sweatshop activists, fair trade has offered a practical alternative for structurally disadvantage food producers to take direct action against the hegemonic forces of ‘free trade’.

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Global warming is rapidly changing the physical biosphere in ways that will reverberate well into the future. This chapter explores the relationship between food and climate change. On the one hand, profit-oriented systems of food production contribute to the production of carbon emissions while simultaneously undermining the resilience of natural systems to withstand the effects of climate-related changes. On the other hand, the degradation of natural resources associated with climatic change further perpetuates the demise of existing agricultural and pastoral systems in ways that will continue to generate famine and climate-induced migrations. While climate change has global consequences, the extent of the impact varies depending on the vulnerability of particular locales, social groups and livelihoods. Diverse circumstances will give rise to a range of responses, from the continuation of unsustainable production practices and the systematic hoarding of food, through to widespread social unrest linked to food scarcity and criminality.

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