Within and beyond criminology
In 1983, the Australian criminologist Richard Harding asked ‘what do criminology and criminologists do to decrease the chances of the extinction of mankind and the destruction of the planet?’ (1983, p. 82). Harding, writing during the Cold War and the height of nuclear proliferation, asserted that criminology must move beyond local issues and become a global enterprise that engages with issues of international significance. He challenged criminological thinkers to not only wrestle with pending global issues that threatened the extinction of the planet, but also to begin thinking about the ways new technologies and global insecurities posed potential environmental, social and economic injustices on an international scale.
Harding’s question requires criminologists to think outside nation-state and strict legalistic boundaries and to pursue what has been referred to as a ‘supranational criminology’ (Smeulers and Haveman, 2008). This course examines some of the ways that critical criminology has been applied to new areas of criminology and continues to fundamentally challenge what criminology is about. We start with the concept of ‘social harm’ (Muncie et al., 2010; Tombs and Whyte, 2010). The concept of social harm can be used to open up the possibilities of new narratives in such areas as Green Criminology and eco crime, human rights, and human security. It creates new considerations of how to govern global social relations and alternative ways of conceiving justice. Within this framework, it is possible to consider a wider variety of social and criminological concerns, which are difficult to contain within the existing structures of nation states or within legalistic approaches to criminology, and continue to vex existing state and interstate strategies of control.