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Inquiries and Data Traps: Do Activists Need More Evidence?

Becka Hudson (Birkbeck College, UK)

The Emerald International Handbook of Activist Criminology

ISBN: 978-1-80262-200-3, eISBN: 978-1-80262-199-0

Publication date: 9 August 2023


Inquiries, commissions, reviews and the promise of broader data collection about racial and gender disparities are now the reflex defensive responses from state institutions charged with grievous social harm, particularly in the UK. Recommendations from these exercises are rarely implemented. As criminologists, our ability to produce and analyse data that evidences or better illuminates social harm has long been a key offer of the discipline to activism.

How are we to respond to the very institutions activist criminologists seek to challenge immediately offering this very activity, invariably protracted and ineffectual, as a reflex response to activist challenge? This chapter explores this tension. Grounded in the work of groups struggling to end police stop and search, it considers the strategy impasse around research and data production that faces grassroots activists and their accomplice researchers. The chapter proposes new routes for collaboration and action across activist and criminologist communities that may help move past the ‘data trap’. In short, it seeks to answer: do activists need more evidence?



Hudson, B. (2023), "Inquiries and Data Traps: Do Activists Need More Evidence?", Canning, V., Martin, G. and Tombs, S. (Ed.) The Emerald International Handbook of Activist Criminology (Emerald Studies in Activist Criminology), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 405-420.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023 Becka Hudson