Expanding Criminological Frames: Global/Local

Dr Nesam Mcmillan1, Associate Professor Jennifer Balint2, Professor Karen Joe Laidler3
1University Of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia, 2University Of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia, 3The University of Hong Kong, Centennial Campus, Hong Kong

International Crime, Justice and the Promise of Community

From a criminological perspective, the internationalisation of crime and justice is a significant historical development. International crime and international criminal justice are distinguished from their national counterparts, framed as new categories of crime and justice. International crimes are popularly conceptualised as crimes against humanity, crimes against ‘us’ all, whilst international justice is represented as an enterprise undertaken on behalf of an international community. Embedded in ideas and practices of internationalised crime and justice are promises of global interconnectedness: that certain suffering matters and is the concern of ‘us’ all.

This paper charts and interrogates the nature and effects of the internationalisation of crime and justice. First, it discusses how (on what grounds) certain crimes and forms of justice are figured as distinctly ‘international’. I draw on the fields of international law, socio-legal studies, cultural geography, anthropology, global criminology and post-colonial theory to trace the shifts in scale, subjectivity and meaning that this entails. Second, the paper explores the subjective and relational effects of dominant approaches to international crime and justice – by asking what ways they make it possible to relate and respond to the injustice and injury experienced by others? Ultimately, it argues that dominant approaches to international crime and justice, and their contemporary valorisation, problematically function to separate these notions from life as it is lived.

State crime, art and making harm visible

This paper reflects on the Minutes of Evidence Project (www.minutesofevidence.com.au), a collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers, education experts, performance artists, community members and government and community organizations, to consider how theatre, education and research can be harnessed to make visible structural harm. To address the intransigent and yet often hidden harm of enduring colonial inequity, the project used the record of law from an 1881 Parliamentary Inquiry to expand the field of engagement beyond the academy, creating public spaces to explore, share and interrogate the colonial past and present in new and engaging ways.

This paper draws out from this project to consider how we may activate legal records to make visible structural injustice and reflects on the role of art in this. How might our legal records be heard and responded to and the absences and harms of law be brought to account? How may we understand the role of art as partnering in this ‘translation’ work of law? Drawing on recent and developing work, it considers how as part of a public process, forms of art can be used to create new meeting points, in law and outside that enable structural injustice to be made publicly visible and accountable.

Details to be confirmed, but proposed paper by Karen Joe Laidler, on the death penalty and drug trafficking in the ASEAN context, as another example of furthering our ways of thinking about criminology in southern contexts.

We are happy to add a fourth presentation with the revised due date for the call for abstracts.


Biography:

Nesam McMillan is a Lecturer in Global Criminology in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Her research focuses on the broader ethical significance of mass harm. In particular, it charts and interrogates how and with what effects events of mass harm are culturally understood and practically addressed (through social, legal and political means) on the global stage. Nesam is also a co-founder of the Global Network on Justice. Conflict. Responsibility, a public platform for collaborative engagement between academics, practitioners and community in contemporary justice issues in Australia and the world.

Jennifer Balint is Associate Professor in Socio-Legal Studies in the Discipline of Criminology, School of Social and Political Sciences at The University of Melbourne, Australia. Her work considers the constitutive role of law, with a focus on state crime and means of accountability. She is a co-researcher on the Minutes of Evidence Project, has been a visiting fellow at the International State Crime Initiative at Queen Mary University of London and is a co-founder of the Global Network on Justice. Conflict. Responsibility, a public platform for collaborative engagement between academics, practitioners and community in contemporary justice issues in Australia and the world.

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