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Criminology beyond crime
Criminology beyond crime

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Green Criminology

One type of supranational criminology – and also an independent critical criminological perspective – is Green Criminology. This critical perspective is devoted to harms against the environment. The term ‘Green Criminology’ was first coined by Nigel South in the late 1980s. It has also been referred to as eco-critical criminology (Seis, 2003); conservation criminology (Herbig and Joubert, 2006) and eco-global criminology (White, 2009). The prefix ‘eco’ derives from the Greek word oikos meaning habitat or home and the Latin oeco meaning household relations. ‘Eco’ is used scientifically in the study of ecology to understand the complex networks of evolution and interaction involving species and their habitats. It is also used holistically to refer to both human and non-human species and to embrace social, political and cultural perspectives, experiences and existences of human and non-human interaction with changing environments. In the term ‘eco crime’, we see these meanings combined with those of ‘crime’, which originates from crimen (to accuse, injure, harm –Pavlich, 2000), to create a term which describes the injuries or harms to habitat (Walters, 2010a).

Key features of Green Criminology

  • Focuses on eco crimes – harms to humans, non-humans and the natural environment
  • Theoretical roots embedded within the traditions of radical criminological schools of thought such as feminism, Marxism and social constructionism
  • Interdisciplinary scholarship committed to the protection and conservation of environmental resources and the prevention of illegal and harmful acts that threaten or damage the natural environment
  • Is aligned with green activists, green politics and international bodies of regulation.
Source: adapted from Walters, R. (2010a)