Critical Reflections on ‘Public Criminology’: An Introduction

Justin Piché


Currently, there are a number of disciplines in the social sciences where a “public turn” (Nickel 2010, 698) is being advocated. When one calls upon other scholars to ‘go public’ they are usually asking their colleagues to move beyond what is imagined to be their comfort zones, to do what is allegedly unusual, and engage publics beyond their university classrooms and other academic forums to impact social change concerning the substantive topics addressed in their research. These clarion calls are often set against a contextual backdrop where the world is thought to have just recently gone to shit due to populist politics, mass ignorance and lack of exposure to, or adherence to the lessons found within, academic studies. The proposed antidote offered by proponents of public social sciences often comes in the form of cold, hard ‘truths’ that scholars are claimed to be well-positioned to provide, but too often fail to effectively communicate because of the narrow scope of publics they normally engage.


Public Criminology, Publics, Critical Criminology, Academia,

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