An earlier draft of this article was presented at the 2006 annual meetings of the American Sociological Association, Montreal. We thank Kim Gardner for research assistance and Howard Becker, Mark Edwards, Sarah Lageson, Heather McLaughlin, and Mike Vuolo for constructive comments.
Article first published online: 6 OCT 2010
© 2010 by the American Society of Criminology
Criminology & Public Policy
Volume 9, Issue 4, pages 725–749, November 2010
How to Cite
Uggen, C. and Inderbitzin, M. (2010), Public criminologies. Criminology & Public Policy, 9: 725–749. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-9133.2010.00666.x
- Issue published online: 6 OCT 2010
- Article first published online: 6 OCT 2010
- public scholarship;
Public scholarship aspires to bring social science home to the individuals, communities, and institutions that are its focus of study. In particular, it seeks to narrow the yawning gap between public perceptions and the best available scientific evidence on issues of public concern. Yet nowhere is the gap between perceptions and evidence greater than in the study of crime. Here, we outline the prospects for a public criminology, conducting and disseminating research on crime, law, and deviance in dialogue with affected communities. We present historical data on the media discussion of criminology and sociology, and we outline the distinctive features of criminology—interdisciplinary, a subject matter that incites moral panics, and a practitioner base actively engaged in knowledge production—that push the boundaries of public scholarship.
Discussions of public sociology have drawn a bright line separating policy work from professional, critical, and public scholarship. As the research and policy essays published in Criminology & Public Policy make clear, however, the best criminology often is conducted at the intersection of these domains. A vibrant public criminology will help to bring new voices to policy discussions while addressing common myths and misconceptions about crime.