Sensory Criminology

Sensory Criminology is a creative space to explore sensory experience of criminological concerns.

This blog is designed to accompany and extend themes and ideas introduced in our edited collection “Sensory penalities: exploring the sensory in spaces of punishment and social control” (Bingley: Emerald). Now available: https://books.emeraldinsight.com/page/detail/Sensory-Penalities/?K=9781839097270 – hardback released 8th February 2021.

Sensing towards justice: The importance of attending to the sensory when interviewing victim-survivors

Adrenaline floods my body; I can hear my heartbeat and I can feel that I am shaking slightly. Thump-thump, thump-thump. I clench my muscles in an attempt to regain some control. All of my senses tunnel in on this interaction, and everything else around me almost ceases to exist. There is an eerie stillness in being hyperaware of your breathing, of the tenseness in your body, in perceiving the other person, offset by the relative silence around me as my brain mutes out background information. But I want to do this.

Interrogating the senses: Cognitive interviewing

They encourage the foregrounding of detail and perspective which might oherwise be regarded as peripheral, thereby utilising the weaknesses and quirks of memory while under duress; e.g. the trauma and/or distress of being caught up in a violent event. Lieutenant Jason Potts illustrates this point when he quotes Lisak (2002): “Victims are often able to recall the texture of a rapist’s shirt before being able to remember if the suspect was wearing a hat”.


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