We occupy a contemporary world awash with drift and drifters – a world in which dislocation and disorientation have become phenomena in their own right. To make sense of this world we might inquire into drift’s long history, while also situating contemporary drift within the particular economic, legal, and cultural dynamics of today’s globalized world. In critically analyzing this world we will surely want to account for the contested politics of drift – the ways in which legal and economic arrangements both spawn drift and operate to control it, and the ways in which drifters create their own slippery strategies of resistance. In all of this we can usefully recall and reinvent drift as a conceptual orientation within sociology and criminology, and can perhaps bring these disciplines into closer engagement with the contemporary world by learning the theoretical and methodological lessons offered by drift itself.
Jeff Ferrell is Professor of Sociology at Texas Christian University, USA, and Visiting Professor of Criminology at the University of Kent, UK. He is author of the books Crimes of Style, Tearing Down the Streets, Empire of Scrounge, and, with Keith Hayward and Jock Young, the first and second editions of Cultural Criminology: An Invitation, winner of the 2009 Distinguished Book Award from the American Society of Criminology’s Division of International Criminology. He is co-editor of the books Cultural Criminology, Ethnography at the Edge, Making Trouble, Cultural Criminology Unleashed, and Cultural Criminology: Theories of Crime. Jeff Ferrell is founding and current editor of the New York University Press book series Alternative Criminology, and one of the founding editors of Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal, winner of the ALPSP 2006 Charlesworth Award for Best New Journal. In 1998 Ferrell received the Critical Criminologist of the Year Award from the Critical Criminology Division of the American Society of Criminology. He is currently completing a book on drift and drifters.