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 surveillance

But this focus on new developments conceals how surveillance has long been a tool of colonial practices that continues to disproportionately impact the lifeworlds of colonised subjects, whilst sustaining the global violence of lingering empire (Browne, 2015; Ogasawara, 2019). Moreover, as Dubrofsky and Magnet (2015: 3) note in their influential text Feminist Surveillance Studies, focusing on machines distracts from the fact that in ‘its most basic structure, the act of surveillance has always existed in some form as the action of observing or the condition of being observed’. A particularly sensory – and human – observation.

Making Sense of the Sensorium

In new and hectic environments, I experience this sensory overload as physical discomfort. Loud, sudden sound stings my ears, freezing my thoughts. I recoil from bright light which dazzles and discombobulates. I avoid touching and being touched in unfamiliar surrounds lest its novelty proves too intense and jars with my attempts to navigate space


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