Dr Matthew Ball from the School of Justice, Faculty of Law, has recently presented a seminar at St Aidan’s College, Durham University, UK. Dr Ball’s seminar was based on his latest book “Criminology and Queer Theory: Dangerous Bedfellows”.
Seminar abstract: The general exclusion of LGBTIQ people from criminology and criminal justice policies has led, in recent years, to the emergence of the field of ‘Queer Criminology’. While work in this area is generally united by a concern for improving the crime and justice experiences of LGBTIQ people, there remains disagreement over how best to engage with and deploy the notion of ‘queer’ in criminology. As such, important questions about the direction of the field and how it might best achieve its goals continue to be debated.
This paper explored three of the key problems that currently confront queer criminologists, and how they might be responded to. These problems consist of: the evangelistic tendencies within academic criminology; the faith that is placed in categories such as sexuality, institutions like criminal justice, and disciplines like criminology to achieve the goals sought by queer criminologists; and the way in which the complex power effects of these categories, institutions, and disciplines, and their troubling impacts on LGBTIQ people, often appear to have been forgotten.
The paper concluded by considering one key issue that has not been given much attention within queer criminology so far: the epistemological and political positioning of queer criminology in the Global North. It suggested that queer criminologists must examine the extent to which queer criminology is invested in, and maintains, queer settler colonialism, in order to acknowledge the limitations, exclusions, and even dangers of the field.