Professor Kerry Carrington of QUT Centre for Justice recently conducted a keynote at the 3rd International Conference on Criminology & Forensic Science in the Global South. The keynote was titled, “Criminology of the Global South: A journey toward cognitive justice.”
The conference was held at Dahka University (and on-line) on 8 August 2021.
Santos de Sousa reminds us that the task of de-colonising knowledge is complex, gigantic, and in some (but not all) contexts, born of struggle against capitalism, patriarchy and colonialism (2020; 220-27). He argues there are two main projects of de-colonising knowledge – one negative and one positive. The negative championed by decolonial theory is to deconstruct and root out ethnocentric and anglocentric biases of knowledge systems. This journey has many champions. The positive and more challenging, according to Santos de Sousa, is the constructive work of the epistemologies of the south (Santos de Sousa, 2020: 226). The plural is deliberate as the key to disrupting the hegemony of northern epistemologies is to build diverse epistemologies. This journey has fewer champions, of which I am one. In this keynote I reflect on the journey of the emergence of criminologies of the south, how they have only just begun the long arduous work of constructing new knowledges, methods and theories. This approach to de-colonising criminology is not in principle an oppositional project. It seeks to bridge global divides, reorient and correct hegemonic biases, to expand the repertoire of criminological knowledges beyond their heavily laden northern gaze. As a theoretical project it seeks to generate theory and not just apply theory imported from the Global North. As an empirical project, it seeks to harness and cultivate knowledges of and from the Global South that have been relatively invisible (Carrington, Hogg and Sozzo 2016; Carrington et al. 2019). As a political project is seeks to democratize knowledge, pluralise epistemologies, and disrupt the hegemony of criminological theories until recently, institutionalised in universities of the global north. As a practical project is promotes Open Criminology – a way of publishing and disseminating knowledge outside the capitalist model that makes knowledge a commodity by putting it behind paywalls.
The democratisation of knowledge through open access publishing that is free to download and free to publish disrupts the profiteering of publishing empires of corporate giants like Elsevier. Anyone in criminology can participate in the project of decolonising knowledge by supporting open access journals and modes of publication.