The Bigger Picture of Confrontational Homicide: The Andrew Jones case through an ultra-realist lens

Prof. Elizabeth Yardley1
1Birmingham City University, Birmingham, United Kingdom

Andrew Jones was an 18-year-old man from Liverpool in England, who died after being punched, falling backwards and hitting his head on the pavement during a night out in March 2003. No one has ever been convicted of a crime in relation to Andrew’s death, despite there being multiple witnesses at the scene – who were condemned for their silence at Andrew’s inquest. Current criminological approaches to homicide tend to be reductionist in nature – exploring social structures that conceptualize the violent self as a product of the environment or examining micro social interactions on the premise that violence is a product of language and symbols.  Within this paper, I explore the Andrew Jones case through an alternative theoretical and conceptual framework. The ultra-realist approach encourages reflection upon violent subjectivity within the political economy of late capitalism. This school of thought forces us to consider the inner life of the violent subject, how they negotiate their social world and ultimately, how they come to be willing to cause fatal harm to another. Exploring the death of Andrew Jones within the context of deindustrialized North West England enables an analysis of the background issues that shape violence and an understanding of how such a context underpinned the internal lives of those involved in Andrew Jones’ death. Drawing upon key ultra-realist concepts such as special liberty and fetishistic disavowal, this paper encourages a contextually situated criminological analysis of a confrontational homicide among working class young people.


Elizabeth Yardley is Professor of Criminology and Director of the Centre for Applied Criminology at Birmingham City University. Her research focuses on homicide and violent crime. Her work has explored serial homicide, media representations of violent crime and the use of networked technologies around violence. Elizabeth’s recent work has explored the conceptual and theoretical frameworks around homicide with a particular focus upon the importance of political economy in criminological sense making around this type of crime.



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