Chair: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Origins of the Working Group

At its meeting during the ninth conference of the European Society of Criminology in Ljubljana, the European Governance of Public Safety Research Network (EUGPSRN) agreed to reconstitute itself as the 'Crime, Science and Politics' Working Group. This decision reflects the evolving interests of working group members from a specific concern with the kinds of politics of control generated by partnerships of state, market and civil society actors ('governance') to a broader set of interests in interactions between politics and crime control and political analysis and criminological research. The focus on crime, science and politics reflects current controversies around these interactions, such as: the tensions between scientific inquiry and popular-democratic representation in evidence-based policy-making; the call for social scientists to become 'public intellectuals' with a duty to intervene in and shape public controversies around crime and control; disputes over the appropriate methodological frameworks for evaluating 'what works' in crime control; and disputes over the possibility and desirability of demarcating science and politics in these controversies.

Aim and Objectives of the Working Group on Crime, Science and Politics

Given these origins, the aim of the working group is:
"To facilitate research into the relationship between scientific expertise and political action in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of public policy responses to crime and deviance".

Specific objectives in support of this aim are:

  • To consider the relationship between scientific inquiry and popular-democratic representation in policy responses to crime and deviance;
  • To examine the role of political analysis in criminological research;
  • To consider the possibility and desirability of demarcating political analysis from scientific inquiry in criminological research;
  • To question the politics and ethics of the research relationship between criminologists and those who commission and use criminological research;
  • To consider the role of criminologists in public policy-making;
  • To question the epistemological status of criminological knowledge relative to other narratives about crime and control.

Forthcoming Activities

The working group will convene panels of papers relating to the above aim and objectives at annual meetings of the ESC. The working group provides opportunities for researchers interested in science-politics interactions in criminology, crime and control to exchange ideas for collaborative writing and research and further stimulate comparative understanding in European criminology.

Membership of the Network

The constitution of the working group is relatively informal and participation in its activities is open to all members of the ESC who share a research interest in its aim and objectives. Offers of papers and suggestions for themed panels to be convened by the working group at the annual meetings of the ESC are welcome. Please contact the chair, Sirpa Virta, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., for further details of the working group's activities.