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British Criminological Amnesia: Making the Case for a Black and Postcolonial Feminist Criminology

Clare Choak

2020 United Kingdom

The discipline of Western criminology emerged during the colonial era as a means of controlling the ‘other’. Despite its failures in terms of rehabilitation and recidivism, these perspectives have been adopted on a global scale. Crime and punishment have been heavily influenced by these ideas and continue to reproduce them in problematic and pathologising discourses such as the United Kingdom gang agenda. This has positioned young Black men as naturally aggressive, sexual predators and innately criminal. A move towards a British Postcolonial Criminology has received scant attention despite there being a range of global literature which calls for changes to be made to the roots of the discipline. Whilst Black people have been sidelined, stereotyped or ignored, so too have been women, with Black women being noticeably absent. Feminist criminology in Britain has also been criticised for its failure to adequately deal with issues of race. Consequently, drawing on what has been written to further the cause of a Black Feminist Criminology (BFC), this paper argues for the adoption of a Black and Postcolonial Feminist Criminology (BPFC) in the UK whereby issues of race, intersectionality and historical perspectives are central to how we understand crime.

postcolonial criminology, criminological amnesia, Black and postcolonial feminist criminology, intersectionality, gang agenda