This blog is managed by Kate Herrity, Bethany Schmidt and Jason Warr; editors of the forthcoming “sensory penalities”.
We take an expansive view of what constitutes criminology. We understand criminology as interdisciplinary, innovative and creative; in some senses a “post discipline” (Richard Sparks). We have a corresponding interest in approaches which explore the edges of criminology, where it meets other fields and disciplines, aspects of our field which are echoed in explorations of the sensory.
We are similarly open to focus of interest. While we are prisons researchers primarily we wish to broaden academic conversations both in terms of focus and inclusion. If your interest deals in any way with the construction of crime and/or harm, our understanding of crime, the study/research of crime and its consequences, the nature and experience of punishment or why we punish we’re interested in hearing from you. This includes more peripheral and experimental areas of our field, as well as ideas and perspectives from people who identify somewhere beyond its blurred boundaries. That it centres sensory experience as a source of knowledge and understanding of the above areas is the central point, and that it is written in a creative, experimental, reflective style. For those of you more established in the ways of academia: our hope is that this presents the opportunity to explore those parts of your fieldnotes otherwise consigned to a drawer as not academic enough, too personal, too unpolished.
Sensory: Relating to sensation or the physical senses; transmitted or perceived by the senses. A focus on sensory experience as a source of knowledge with the aim of offsetting and undermining our ocular-centric way of thinking about the criminological world. By doing so we move closer to the way the world is experienced, not as discrete packages of information but as a constant deluge of sensory input which we sift and prioritise to make manageable. In so doing we construct our objects of knowledge in the ‘image’ of our cultural expectations, academically and socially.
Criminology: the scientific study of ‘criminal’ behaviour, what causes it or how it comes to be so defined and our responses to it.
Sensory criminology: studying criminological issues with a focus on sensory aspects of social experience.
Sensory penalities: exploring the experience of places and processes of punishment in a way which privileges the sensory