Teesside Centre for Realist Criminology

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The launch of Teesside Centre for Realist CriminologyMembers of TCRC have authored many books in their fields.
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TCRC has been working in partnership with the Research Centre on Violence at West Virginia University and is proud to be a community associate.

Research in criminology is driven forward by the Teesside Centre for Realist Criminology. The work of the Centre demonstrates a commitment to criminological realism; that is, the depiction of the world intellectually in ways that represent its actuality.

Together, members of the Centre are interested in constructing an account of crime, violence and social harm - as well as criminal justice and the general social reaction to these phenomena - without the sentimentalism and idealism that currently dominates many of the critical and theoretical accounts in academic criminology.

The Teesside Centre for Realist Criminology was co-founded in September 2013 by Professor Steve Hall and Professor Simon Winlow. It is currently directed by Professor Philip Whitehead. Professor Whitehead's specialist areas of interest include theorising and researching the criminal justice system, with particular reference to a moral economy perspective.

The director is supported by, and works in collaboration with, all the members of the Centre to make a critical intellectual contribution to criminology, criminal justice, youth justice, and cognate fields.

On video: Teesside University: Dr Philip Whitehead
Dr Philip Whitehead is Professor in Criminal & Social Justice and is also Director of the Teesside Centre for Realist Criminology.
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PhD students

Funded research projects

International Advisory Board

  • Dr Daniel Briggs (University Europea, Spain)
  • Professor Elaine Campbell (University of Newcastle, UK)
  • Professor Pat Carlen (University of Kent, UK)
  • Professor Elliott Currie (University of California, USA)
  • Professor Walter DeKeseredy (University of Ontario IOT, Canada)
  • Professor Keith Hayward (University of Kent, UK)
  • Professor Dick Hobbs (University of Essex, UK)
  • Professor John Lea (University of Brighton, UK)
  • Professor Ronnie Lippens (University of Keele, UK)
  • Professor Jianhong Liu (University of Macau, People's Republic of China)
  • Professor Jo Phoenix (University of Leicester, UK)
  • Professor Larry Ray (University of Kent, UK)
  • Professor Steve Redhead (Flinders University, South Australia)
  • Professor Robert Reiner (London School of Economics and Political Science, UK)
  • Professor Peter Squires (University of Brighton, UK)
  • Dr James Treadwell (University of Birmingham)
  • Professor Steve Tombs (Open University, UK)
  • Professor Sandra Walklate (University of Liverpool, UK)
  • Dr Joerg Wiegratz (University of Leeds, UK)
  • Dr Oliver Smith (Plymouth University, UK)

Books

Whitehead, P. (2015) Reconceptualising the Moral Economy of Criminal Justice. Palgrave Pivot
This book reconceptualises the concept of moral economy in its relevance for, and application to, criminal justice in England and Wales with specific reference to probation.
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Lloyd, A. (2013) Labour Markets and Identity on the Post-Industrial Assembly Line. Farnham: Ashgate
'Everyone interested in the painful reality of postmodern labour markets must read this book,' Professor Simon Winlow
'Rocks the foundations of the discipline', Professor Simon Hallsworth.

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Hall, S. (2012). Theorizing Crime and Deviance: A New Perspective. London: Sage
'A remarkable intellectual achievement', Professor Robert Reiner
'Rocks the foundations of the discipline', Professor Simon Hallsworth.

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Whitehead, P. (2010). Exploring Modern Probation: Social theory and organisational complexity. Bristol: The Policy Press
'A meticulous, succinct and extremely well written analysis of the probation services in the United Kingdom,' European Journal of Probation.
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Hall, S., Winlow, S. and Ancrum, C. (2008). Criminal Identities and Consumer Culture: Crime, exclusion and the new culture of narcissism. London: Willan/Routledge
'An important landmark in criminology,' Professor Pat Carlen
'When criminologists look back in 50 years' time at those books that pushed critical criminology forward they'll point to Criminal Identities and Consumer Culture,' Professor David Wilson.

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Winlow, S. (2001). Badfellas
'This is qualitative sociology at its best: revealing, disturbing, counter-intuitive, and compelling.' Laurie Taylor, The Independent
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Papanicolaou, G. (2011). Transnational Policing and Sex Trafficking in Southeast Europe: Policing the Imperialist chain. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
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Hall, S. and Winlow, S. (eds) (2012). New Directions in Criminological Theory. London: Routledge.
'A rich, vibrant and diverse collection written by some of the most creative scholars in criminology from around the world. The book pushes criminology's conventional boundaries in important and often provocative ways. It should stimulate productive debate for years to come.' Elliott Currie
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Winlow, S. and Hall, S. (2006) Violent Night: Urban leisure and contemporary culture. Oxford: Berg.
'Violent Night fizzes and crackles on every page as a picture emerges of the insecurity, instrumentalism, competition and anxiety that now characterises what it means to be young in Britain. It is a powerful antidote to any lingering Romantic notions about the meaning and rate of violence in our society. I cannot recommend it more highly.' Professor David Wilson (Centre for Criminological Research and Practice, University of Central England, Birmingham)
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Winlow, S. and Hall, S. (2013). Cover for Rethinking Social Exclusion
'Classic Winlow and Hall - bleak, brilliant and unmatched in the art of fundamentally rethinking crucial social issues in a way that is simultaneously enlightening and, at times, rather scary' Professor Bev Skeggs, Goldsmiths, University of London
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Amanda Coates


Examining the influence of consumer culture and late modernity's social world on drug users' perceptions of service provision and social inclusion

The research examines the influence of consumer culture and late modernity's social world on drug users' perceptions of service provision and social inclusion.

In Middlesbrough, service providers in drug, alcohol and mental health sectors are experiencing difficulties in encouraging social inclusion amongst service users. Part of the problem is that there is little research identifying concepts of social exclusion and social inclusion. What do the practitioners and service users understand by the terms social exclusion and social inclusion and indeed what do they mean when we use the word 'social'?

Teesside is one of the most deprived regions in the North East of England, experiencing high rates of unemployment and crime. In addition individuals with drug addiction and mental health issues are further disadvantaged, often due to the stigma and prejudice linked to their illnesses. Are these issues alone the barriers to social inclusion or are there other contributory factors that exclude people from mainstream society?

I am conducting both surveys and face-to-face interviews with practitioners and service users in the Middlesbrough area to investigate their perceptions of society, social exclusion and social inclusion. What types of roles are both groups prepared to play in enabling social inclusion, and is it an achievable goal?

Amanda Coates


An investigation into the experiences of domestic violence victims in rural and urban areas

This research focuses on domestic violence in urban and rural areas in the North East of England to examine victims' experiences of help-seeking from formal networks (statutory and non-statutory agencies) and informal networks (e.g. friends, colleagues, neighbours and family). Although rural areas are not culturally or demographically homogenous (Wendt, 2009), it is anticipated significant differences in the types of help provided by formal and informal networks will be observed in comparison to urban settings. Understanding attitudes within informal network and wider understanding towards domestic violence will also be centrally examined.

The study will use a focus group methodology with informal networks and semi-structured interviews with victims and agencies. The research will use an ecological framework approach that highlights the multidimensional factors within domestic violence (see Heise, 1998) to argue that rural domestic violence creates further barriers at an ontological level as well as Macro, Micro and Exo-system levels (Heise, 1998) in comparison with urban areas.

It is anticipated that socio-economic conditions (such as employment and poverty) and socio-cultural factors (such as gender norms) will interweave with geographical isolation and victim subordination for rural domestic violence victims. The research will provide further theoretical and practice-based insight into a victim-centred Coordinated Community Response which develops an effective multi-agency infrastructure within the community (Shepard and Pence, 1998), focusing on utilising both informal and formal networks, and providing a holistic approach that emphasises the importance of initiating effective informal networks to tackle, address and provide effective services for domestic violence in rural areas.

Research interests: violence against women, gender studies, victimology, crime and fear of crime in rural areas, and violence.

Rachel Fearney


Summary justice- An investigation into the exemplar sentences handed down following the 2011 riots.

During August 2011, the UK witnessed one of the worst periods of civil unrest for over 30 years, with many major cities being hit by riots. While many academics would focus their attention on investigating probable causes for such criminality, my interest centred on a far more serious situation which was not only in danger of being overlooked but could prove far more damaging for our democracy than the riots ever could be.

While initial reactions from the government were slow, the Prime Minister delivered a series of statements both to an emergency recalled Parliament and to the public which clearly indicated the nature of justice the government expected the courts to hand down to all those who were convicted with offences committed during the riots. Careful analysis of his discourse would indicate that he wanted to see harsh, disproportionate custodial sentences for all those involved.

Once the cases had been processed through the courts, it was clearly evident that the courts were acting out of character, passing down sentences which did indeed seem unduly harsh, with the judiciary seeming to favour custody as opposed to other form of sentences which arguably, could have been adequate enough to punish some of the crimes committed.

In light of this, my research aims to explore the justice metered out to those who were charged with riot related offences and establish whether the rationale behind such exemplary and disproportionate sentences was the result of political pressure being placed upon the judiciary by the executive branch of government. If these claims are substantiated, then there are serious implications for the future of impartial justice in our modern day democracy. Primarily, such interference is not only in contravention of our constitution, but is also indicative that the relationship between the branches of government is becoming more fused, allowing the executive the power to dominate all other branches.

Research interests: policing and social control, riots, sentencing, the role of the State.

Justin Kotze


Analysing the 'Crime Decline': Change and Continuity in Crime and Harm

Alongside the socio-economic dislocations and political fragmentations which characterised the period following the end of the Second World War, global crime trends followed a seemingly relentless and unyielding upward trajectory that lasted almost four decades. However, within a milieu in which this 'post-war crime boom' looked set to continue we are faced with what Young has referred to as a 'second aetiological crisis', this time characterised by what a number of scholars argue to be a paradoxical yet extraordinary international crime decline.

While some scholars accept prima facie the statistical validity of the proposed decline and posit various explanations for its occurrence, some, more cautious and critically informed criminologists, continue to question quite vociferously both the contested nature of the socially constructed category of 'crime' and its efficacy as an adequate measure of diverse social harms.

Indeed, it is within this latter, more cautious and critically informed scholarly milieu that my doctoral research is located and which will begin to investigate the validity of the claim that we are experiencing an international crime decline as well as suggest the foundational first steps towards the development of a conceptual framework capable of facilitating a more holistic exploration of crime and harm in today's world.

Most recent article: Horsley, M., Justin Kotze & Steve Hall (Forthcoming 2015) 'The Maintenance of Orderly Disorder: Modernity, Markets and the Pseudo-Pacification Process' Journal on European History of Law.

Forthcoming: Justin is currently involved in writing a review with Dr Evi Boukli on Davies, Francis and Wyatt's 2014 book Invisible Crimes and Social Harms. He is also in the early stages of bringing together an edited collection on harm provisionally entitled Just Harm: Rethinking Zemiology and the Broader Context of Social Harm also with Dr Evi Boukli.

Research interests: criminological theory, capitalist culture, identity and criminal motivation and the sociology of punishment.

Kevin Price


Identity and place identity in a localised post-industrial setting: collective memory, identity maintenance and a localised ‘imagined community' – a case study of the Headland area of Hartlepool.

The residents of the Headland display a resilient collective memory, arguably perpetuated through the restoration of important community spaces, linking the present with the past and potentially grounding residents' own identities (which are increasingly influenced by global and consumptive forces) within a wider social and historical framework.

Hartlepool has a long industrial legacy in which global capital played a central role in the aggressive expansion and subsequent uncompromising de-industrialisation. Despite strong evidence of deprivation and repeated attempts at regeneration, residents of the Headland area continue to display a strong ‘sense of place' and ‘place attachment'.

Historically considered geographically isolated and socially homogenised, factors which are still apparent in the social structure and identity of the area today, residents maintain a differentiated ‘sense of place' and ‘place identity' in the mould of Benedict Anderson's ‘imagined communities'.

By utilising ‘Walking Map' techniques in the tradition of participatory research and gathering personal narratives in the context of localised space and place, the project aims to examine the relationships between ‘identity', ‘place identity', and ‘place attachment'; exploring and evaluating concepts including Habitus, Structuration, Place-Myth, Othering, Re-generation and Memorialised Heritage, Consumption, Mobility, and Praxis.

Research interests: Spatialisation of poverty and social/economic exclusion, the normalisation of neo-liberal ideology into political and media discourse (particularly in the United States), masculinity and the emergence of Mixed Martial Arts in North America and Europe.

David Temple


News from 'Nowhere': emerging criminal markets in the global economy

This project aims to develop a new theoretical approach to desistance from crime. Desistance is a relatively new and niche field within criminology. The term was developed in America in the late twentieth century and has gained momentum in the UK since the turn of the century. While the study of this area remains in its infancy, it has developed rapidly and has the potential to inform practice in the criminal justice system.

However, key theorists in desistance studies tend to focus on cultivating in criminal actors the desire to change. My research identifies influential internal and external factors which both help and hinder individuals in their attempts to desist. The desire to change is one thing, but what about pressing material constrains that bear down upon the recently released 'criminal'?

This thesis will critically assess the practical applicability of desistance theory in a real-world setting. My research is based upon an intensive ethnographic investigation of the Gallant project. The Gallant is a community reintegration project currently being piloted within various post-industrial locales in North-East England. The Gallant is heavily influenced by criminology's desistance literature. It aims to provide support for offenders relating to their various 'criminogenic needs'. In this project I assess the effectiveness and limitations of the Gallant initiative, and aim to develop a productive new direction for desistance studies.

Research interests: Desistance, probation, subjectivity, globalisation and crime, terrorism, American criminal justice.

Sharon Wright


Does an individual's involvement in crime and the criminal justice system tend to impact on siblings' identity construction?

Data for England and Wales shows a high level of youth crime (Ministry of Justice 2013) and that over 11,000 people under the age of 21 are incarcerated (Rethinking Crime and Punishment 2013). Given also that 80 percent of children grow up with at least one sibling (Sanders 2004), it seems surprising therefore that sibling relationships remain an under investigated area (Fortuna et al 2011) and in particular in relation to sibling criminality and incarceration (Meek 2008).

In trying to establish a realist and meaningful understanding of the identity construction of children and young people whose sibling(s) is involved in crime and/or the criminal justice system, my research will adopt a tripartite approach.

Firstly, using the work of Hall et al (2008), the criminogenic effect of the neoliberal consumer culture will be used as a framework for analysis.

Secondly, our understanding of sibling relationships will be enhanced by adopting a broad psychoanalytic approach which aims to synthesise traditional psychoanalytic and orthodox object-relations theories with the neo-Freudian works of, for example, Zizek and Lacan.

Thirdly, an examination of neoliberal policies in relation to social and criminal justice will facilitate the analysis of their effects on sibling relationships and will allow for a critique of current social policy.

By bringing these three strands together, the aim of this research is to improve understanding of children and young people whose lived world experiences are affected by the involvement of their sibling(s) in crime and/or the criminal justice system.

Research will be carried out using focus groups and one to one interviews, with data then being critically analysed using the theoretical framework outlined above.