In their daily practice, criminal justice professionals tell stories about their ‘clientele’ and these narratives legitimise their roles and decision-making. My research…
In their daily practice, criminal justice professionals tell stories about their ‘clientele’ and these narratives legitimise their roles and decision-making. My research underscores how narratives of crime inform the practice of youth justice. The research presented in this chapter is based on court case file analysis and interviews with youth justice practitioners, concentrating on how they ‘theorise’ the causes of crime of migrant youth and which interventions they deem appropriate.
The chapter raises a methodological discussion on whether narrative researchers can and should attempt to actively question research participants' accounts, which constitute (penal) harm, introducing an interviewing model that I call ‘light’ Socratic dialogues. The aim of this interviewing style is to gradually move the narrator from doxa (‘common’ knowledge and practice) to episteme and to actively question research participants' accounts. ‘Socrates light’ that I propose in this chapter draws on two bodies of methodological literature. On the one hand, I integrate some principles from ‘active’ interviewing styles, often used in ‘researching up’. On the other hand, I draw on feminist methodology, which offers important insights on how to counterbalance the confronting aspects of ‘active’ interviewing.
The chapter reflects on some of my research interactions and discusses the rationale and the implications of the proposed mode of interviewing. I make three points: first, extensively documenting the interview context and interactions helps us to reflect on the (shifting) narrative performance of those involved in research. Second, becoming ‘active’ as researchers during the interview can enhance the analysis. Third, narrative studies can potentially be transformative if we question the narratives.
Stories govern the criminal justice system and consequently the millions of individuals under its control. In the US the harms experienced by those individuals, their…
Stories govern the criminal justice system and consequently the millions of individuals under its control. In the US the harms experienced by those individuals, their families and their communities are massive. A prominent system-sustaining story is that antisocial persons, who are essentially different from the rest of us, get that way through negligent parenting. The story's moral oppositions rest on textual absences concerning crime, work, care, humanity and the mind of the scholar. In this chapter, first, I discern what goes unsaid via close analysis of the story of antisociality constructed by Gottfredson and Hirschi in their 1990 book A General Theory of Crime. Second, I offer a method for cataloguing what goes unsaid in stories that effect control, by (1) evaluating figurative language and other means of ambiguation; (2) assessing patterns of elaboration and explanation and (3) asking what and whose knowledge is missing. Rigorously deployed with a reflexive stance on one's position as to what should be said, the method can help uncover subtext, understatement and silencing.
Narrative criminology has made stories respectable again, despite criminology's long-professed ties to a model of positive science. Given the field's continued scepticism…
Narrative criminology has made stories respectable again, despite criminology's long-professed ties to a model of positive science. Given the field's continued scepticism about the ‘truthfulness’ of stories, narrative scholars have grappled carefully with the place and utility of lies for understanding the social worlds and individual identities of crime-involved populations. In this chapter, we draw from a study of women's pathways to incarceration in Sri Lanka, analysing the case of one study participant who shared with us many ‘tall tales’ about their life. In comparing Daya's account with those of other participants, we explore the complex relations among ‘truth,’ ‘fiction’ and ‘lies,’ and their implications for narrative criminology. We offer specific cautions about the place of verisimilitude and plausibility in narrative criminologists' efforts to make sense of offender narratives.
This chapter draws on previous work calling for a narrative criminology sensitive to fictional stories about how we have instigated or sustained harmful action with…
This chapter draws on previous work calling for a narrative criminology sensitive to fictional stories about how we have instigated or sustained harmful action with respect to the environment. It begins by offering some defining features of narrative criminology, before turning to two examples of narrative criminological work focused on environmental crime and/or harm. One analyzes a corporate (offender's) website; the other examines attorneys' stories of environmental wrongdoing. Together, they depict a cultural narrative in the US of the causes, consequences, punishments (or lack thereof) and corporate representations of environmental harm. Next, this chapter turns to a discussion of examples of depictions or representations of environmental harm and protection in the literature. Here, the focus is on fictional works that are explicitly environmental – where the subject, plot and message centre on one or more environmental issues, such as a particular harm, its cause or causes and possible responses thereto. Finally, this chapter considers ‘allegories of environmental harm,’ examining literature that is less overtly environmental. As an illustration, it suggests an interpretation of the American children's story, Muncus Agruncus: A Bad Little Mouse (Watson, 1976), as a cautionary tale of Western hubris in the face of environmental catastrophe – with the goal of demonstrating how green criminologists have attempted to identify environmental lessons and messages in works with ostensibly other or broader messages. Overall, the intent is to acknowledge both that cultural narratives (and our interpretation of them) change and to demonstrate (the importance of) human agency to transform those narratives (and our interpretation thereof).
In recent years, two new approaches have bloomed in criminological thinking, narrative criminology and psychosocial criminology. Both have argued for a new consideration…
In recent years, two new approaches have bloomed in criminological thinking, narrative criminology and psychosocial criminology. Both have argued for a new consideration of offenders' narratives, which are investigated as a description of life events and choices, and of the decision to offend. An interview regarding the life and deviant career of an Italian football hooligan (‘ultras’) – a Bangladeshi–Italian boy trying to find his place in Italian society – will show how the two approaches can be combined in an analysis of the subject's often ambiguous narratives, in which both neutralisation techniques and defence mechanisms can be discerned. We will first describe the complex narrative strategies used. We will then try to explain how, through the use of complex defences and neutralisations, the subject can feel simultaneously integrated into both the deviant group and general society. In this case, despite antinomies and ambiguity, integration is achieved by keeping at bay the sense of guilt related to aggression towards parental figures.
Arthur W. Frank's dialogical narrative analysis (DNA) has been a recent addition to the plethora of methods in analysing stories. What makes this method unique from the…
Arthur W. Frank's dialogical narrative analysis (DNA) has been a recent addition to the plethora of methods in analysing stories. What makes this method unique from the rest is its concern for both the story's content and its effects. Stories are seen as selection/evaluation systems that do things for and on people. This chapter aims to provide the reader a heuristic guide in conducting DNA and emphasises learning through exemplars as the way of learning DNA. It provides an outline of DNA and reviews how researchers have applied it in different disciplines. Then, DNA will be applied in in the current ‘war on drugs’ in the Philippines. The stories of the policy actors – for and against the drug war – will be analysed to explore how stories affect policy choices and actions, call actors to assume different identities, associate/dissociate these actors and show how they hold their own in telling their stories. Finally, the potential of using DNA in criminology and criminal justice will be discussed.
By considering the stories of crime victims, this chapter demonstrates the fluid and contextual nature of narrative. It draws upon research that investigates narratives of individuals who have lost loved ones to homicide (co-victims) by pairing intensive interviews with concurrent participant observation in a wide array of settings in which co-victims share their stories, such as fundraisers, memorials, self-help group meetings, advocacy events and celebratory gatherings. It highlights the benefit of two related methodological strategies for a narrative approach to victimology specifically and narrative criminology more generally: persistent observation of stories and prolonged engagement with storytellers. In doing so, it emphasises three key features of narrative that are especially useful in uncovering the nature, power and potential of crime victims' stories: speaker, audience and timing.
Based on fieldwork among Muslim drug dealers in Norway, this chapter presents a narrative ethnographic framework for the study of storytelling. Whereas traditional…
Based on fieldwork among Muslim drug dealers in Norway, this chapter presents a narrative ethnographic framework for the study of storytelling. Whereas traditional narrative research considers stories mainly for their internal structure and meaning, narrative ethnography widens the focus to examine stories as they are being performed on specific social occasions. This widened focus requires sustained ethnographic attention to an array of situational factors, most notably the cultural context from which narratives emerge; the locations in which narratives are performed or not performed; the expressive means used during narrative performances; the sequence of actions that make up the scenario of performances; and the impact performances have on the narrators and their audiences. One of the advantages of narrative ethnography is that it allows for consideration of storytelling practices as they evolve and change across time and space. Another is that it facilitates embodied engagement and understandings of other people's situation. The chapter suggests that narrative criminologists may benefit from studying storytelling with all of their senses – not just hearing or reading words, but actively sensing narrative performances with their entire bodies. By mobilizing all senses, and attending to both verbal and nonverbal stimuli, the narrative researcher may develop an embodied ‘feel’ for the stories people are telling.
Following recent terrorist attacks in the US and Europe, Western Muslims have been criticised for not taking a firm stand against radical Islam and extremist…
Following recent terrorist attacks in the US and Europe, Western Muslims have been criticised for not taking a firm stand against radical Islam and extremist organisations. Drawing on insights from narrative criminology, we challenge such assertions and reveal Muslims' narrative mobilisation against violent jihadism. Based on 90 qualitative interviews with young Muslims in Norway, we show how violent extremism is rejected in a multitude of ways. This narrative resistance includes criticising extremist jihadist organisations for false interpretations of Islam and using derogatory terms to describe them. It also includes less obvious forms of narrative resistance, such as humour and attempts to silence jihadist organisations by ignoring them. While narrative criminology has effectively analysed the stories that constitute harm, less attention has been paid to narratives that counter harm. We argue that stories that counter jihadi narratives are crucial to understand the narrative struggles of Muslim communities, whose outcomes can help determine why some individuals end up becoming religious extremists – while others do not. By distinguishing between factual, emotional and humorous counternarratives and describing silence as a form of resistance, we show resistance to extremism that is often concealed from the public and the state.