Feeling human, feeling criminalised: Writing about feelings in criminology


University of Melbourne, policing.research@gmail.com

Since the early 2000s, grey literature research and media investigations have continued to uncover policing debacles that suggest systemic problems with Victoria Police’s engagement with African-background people. This project used a grounded, exploratory methodology to investigate community responses and contact scenarios. Exploring themes of affect and young African-Australian mens’ ontological dilemmas in their relationship to police, self and community, this research was located at the edges or the horizon of accepted criminological subjects and research methods. Respondents and observed community meetings delved into themes of citizenship, race and difference; contrasting concepts of and calls for respect or recognition with discourses of tolerance. In this presentation the author discusses the way that affect came to the forefront of the research process and the way this subsequently illuminated the complexity of meaning-making and intra-activity at play in policing scenarios. The author argues that the complexity of an affective account of being policed highlights the inadequacy of both cultural competency approaches and generic rights discourses and strategies.


Tallace’s interest in racialised policing was first piqued through working as a law student volunteer at the Flemington and Kensington Community Legal Centre  between 2006 and 2012. A short stint as a rookie lawyer at the Victorian Aboriginal Service only served to deepen that interest. Since 2013 Tallace has been a doctoral candidate at the University of Melbourne writing on themes of policing, racialisation and the experiences of African-Australian young men. She returned to that research in August 2016 with fresh but tired eyes after 18 months of parental leave.


The society is devoted to promoting criminological study, research and practice in the region and bringing together persons engaged in all aspects of the field. The membership of the society reflects the diversity of persons involved in the field, including practitioners, academics, policy makers and students.

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