2019 – BSC Annual Conference – Lincoln – Public Criminologies: Communities, Conflict and Justice

Conference details

conf bag
Photo courtesy of Tawney Leigh Bennett

The 2019 BSC Annual Conference was held at the University of Lincoln.

Twitter: @BSCLincs_19

The conference explored the potential prospects for Criminology to ‘bridge the gap’ between academic criminology and public discourse. It engaged with important questions about the role and value of Criminology during a time of conflict and divergence and provided meaningful reflections on the political realities of community, conflict and justice. The conference examined how criminologists can find and use their voice to articulate for collective good in an insecure world.

The conference explored what it means to conceptualise Criminology as a civic enterprise and addressed how criminologists might address issues of power, marginalisation, intersectionality and justice in the 21st Century.

QUTOur bursaries were funded by the Crime, Justice and Social Democracy Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology and the BSC.

Plenary speakers/keynotes:

Tuesday 2nd July 2019

Plenary at Postgraduate Conference: Rehumanising the Other: The Role of an Interventionist Critical Social Research

Dr. Patrick Williams – Manchester Metropolitan University

Wednesday 3rd July 2019

Plenary 1: Climate Change and Criminology: What is to be Done?

Professor Rob White – University of Tasmania

Thursday 4th July 2019

Plenary 2: Theorising Violence and Society

Professor Sylvia Walby – City, University of London

Plenary 3: (Panel) – Activism, Advocacy and Academia

Sheila Coleman – Justice Campaigner

Marcia Rigg – Sean Rigg Justice and Change Campaign

Deborah Coles/Rebecca Roberts – INQUEST

Friday 5th July 2019

Plenary 4 (Panel) – Harm and the Neo-Liberal University

Professor David Whyte – University of Liverpool

Dr. Victoria Canning – University of Bristol

Dr. Waqas Tufail – Leeds Beckett University  (unable to attend)

conference room
Photo: courtesy of Jane Healy


A series of vodcasts were recorded during the conference. Watch the whole series here.

Maybe you can start by watching Prof Peter Squires, University of Brighton (BSC President, 2016-2019)


Professor Mike Levi receives the 2019 Outstanding Achievement Award from our new President, Professor Sandra Walklate

Outstanding Achievement Award 2019

Long before the advent of zemiology as a proclaimed master narrative of criminology, all my working life has been concerned with boundaries and their appropriateness:  organised crime, white-collar crime, money laundering, tax avoidance/evasion.  Boundaries are useful because of what they tell us about our own and others’ stereotypes. My doctoral work – shortened to a still very long book The Phantom Capitalists –  was partly about how different streams of the same activity – defrauding business creditors –  were identified and proceeded against differently when they were committed by gangsters like the Krays and Richardsons, by professional fraudsters, and by businesspeople who only turned to fraud when business times were hard, as they may well do after Brexit.  These opportunities for fraud are always there:  but the dynamics of seizing opportunities can shift.

In recent decades, I have been much concerned with the anti-money laundering transnational legal order, which has been developing rapidly to incorporate all crimes great and small: there is thus a broad spectrum of political constituencies to whom it appeals, from left to right and from Green to climate change deniers, many of them less interested than they should be in the empirical aspects of ‘what works’.[1] This presents dilemmas over how to differentiate the laundering of organized crime funds from other sources of criminal income, which include tax evasion, grand corruption, environmental crimes and the financing of terrorism – all of which can sometimes involve committing ‘organized crime’ offences.. For example, the funnelling of perhaps billions of dollars allegedly stolen from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund in the global 1MDB scandal (some of which, ironically, was used to fund the well-received fraud movie The Wolf of Wall Street) was well organized. It is simply that the principal people involved – allegedly the then Malaysian Prime Minister, his wife and step-son and their entourage, on trial there in 2019, plus former senior Goldman Sachs staff and a Malaysian entrepreneur who has not yet been found – would not be viewed (at least then) by many respectable elites or by many police as ‘organized crime actors’. We might extend this boundary problem to the ‘diesel-gate’ falsification of emissions, primarily by the Volkswagen Group. Arguably this involved several actors planning how to commit crimes and get away with them over a long period of time for the pursuit of profit and power: criteria that meet the UN Transnational Organized Crime Convention 2000. Yet notwithstanding the criminal aggravated fraud charges in 2019 in Germany against the former chief executive officer and 4 managers of VW,[2] many readers would balk at the idea of labeling senior executives of major corporations as ‘organized criminals’, though others might complain if we did not so label them for their intentional deception.[3] In countries with jury trials, this raises questions about jury decision-making and the impact of ethnic, religious and/or social prejudice in both directions (for and against defendants) on their adjudication processes, and how we can reduce the impact of such prejudice on the narratives that we tell ourselves about ‘what happened’.  Prosecutorial conservatism in anticipating jury reactions remains a live practical issue in fraud as well as in violent/sexual crime cases. (Prejudice is not restricted to countries with jury systems.)

Whether the deaths from the dangerously ill-designed Boeing 747 Max will lead to criminal charges remains to be determined but – zemiologists take note – no-one can seriously argue that the designers and top management wanted people to die in plane crashes, even if it was a foreseeable consequence of their decisions.  The subsequent losses from the plane’s grounding and from future civil litigation may lead us to re-evaluate the economic rationality of that allegedly reckless implementation in terms of the shareholders’ and the Board’s values; and it arguably makes little difference to the dead and perhaps to their families what the Board intended. But my plea is that we take account of civil and administrative penalties, and the business careers of those involved in the scandals – when we analyse the impacts of white-collar crimes on all the parties.

The very considerable rise of fraud – especially online fraud – as a mode of crime commission in contemporary societies has muddied the classical distinction between organized and white-collar crime. To some extent, the demarcation issue is our stereotypes of social class and status. The investigative media exposure of Operation Laundromat and subsequent European scandals such as Danske Bank and Swedbank in 2018-19 shows cross-ties between politicians in the former Soviet Union, organized criminals, professional crime enablers and bankers in the Baltic States, and international finance centres including London and New York.  Although such linkages may have little impact on the laundering of the proceeds of drugs or human trafficking, the volumes of money involved are huge and this poses both practical and cultural/ideological questions about political and policing boundaries of the term ‘organized crime’.

These are only a few of the many issues I have been fortunate enough to research in my lifetime, and I am aiming to continue to do so for some years to come!  I am grateful to the BSC for this honour, and long may the diverse and challenging traditions of British criminology flourish.

[1] Levi, M., Reuter, P. and Halliday, T. ‘Can the AML/CTF System Be Evaluated Without Better Data?’ Crime, Law and Social Change, 69(2), 307-328. https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs10611-017-9757-4.pdf; Halliday, T., Levi, M. and Reuter, P. (in press) ‘Anti-Money Laundering: An Inquiry into a Disciplinary Transnational Legal Order, The UC Irvine Journal of International, Transnational and Comparative Law.

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/15/business/winterkorn-volkswagen-emissions-scandal.html

[3] Levi, M. Theoretical Perspectives on White Collar Crime. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice, ed. Henry Pontell. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190264079.013.266


BSC Brian Williams Journal Article Prize to Matthew Tidmarsh

BSC Hate Crime Network Article Prize was awarded to Mike Rowe

BSC National Award for Excellence in Teaching Criminology was presented to Gina Fox

BSC Post-graduate Research Poster Prize was awarded to Charlotte Herriot

BSC Women, Crime and Criminal Justice Network Prize went to Sandra Walklate for her paper ”Seeing’ gender, war and terror’ published in Criminology & Criminal Justice, 18(5), 617-630.

BJC Virtual Issue 2019

This special collection of BJC articles has been curated in accordance with the British Society of Criminology’s 2019 annual conference theme: ‘Public Criminologies: Community, Conflict and Justice’. This theme explores the prospects for criminology to ‘bridge the gap’ between academic knowledge and public discourse, and considers questions about the role and value of criminology in a democratic society.


Neoliberal Legality as Dual Process: Embeddedness, Courts and Crime Prevention in the United States, Holly Campeau, Ron Levi

Criminology and the UN Sustainable Development Goals: The Need for Support and Critique, Jarrett Blaustein, Nathan W Pino, Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Rob White

Can Criminologists Change the World? Critical Reflections on the Politics, Performance and Effects of Criminal Justice, Lesley McAra

The Rise of Partisan Pedagogy: How Stakeholders Outside of the Academy are answering the Call to Public Criminology, Daniel Crépault

Enlisting the Public in the Policing of Immigration, Ana Aliverti

Recognizing the 2011 United Kingdom Riots as Political Protest: A Theoretical Framework Based on Agency, Habitus and the Preconscious, Sadiya Akram

Beyond ‘Facts’ and ‘Values’: Rethinking Some Recent Debates about the Public Role of Criminology, Elizabeth Turner

Genocide Films, Public Criminology, Collective Memory, Michelle Brown, Nicole Rafter

Reconfiguring Security and Liberty: Political Discourses and Public Opinion in the New Century, Christina Pantazis; Simon Pemberton

We Predict a Riot?: Public Order Policing, New Media Environments and the Rise of the Citizen Journalist, Chris Greer, Eugene McLaughlin

Mothers for Justice?: Gender and Campaigns against Miscarriages of Justice, Sarah Charman; Stephen P. Savage

Leaving a ‘Stain upon the Silence’: Contemporary Criminology and the Politics of Dissent, Paddy Hillyard, Joe Sim, Steve Tombs, Dave Whyte

Curated by Sundari Anitha and Katie Strudwick

Turning conference papers into publications

If you have presented at this year’s Annual Conference please consider submitting to the current volume – further details here 


All conference blogs will appear on The BSC Blog during the summer of 2019

Postgraduate Posters Summary

Poster Winner Charlotte Herriott is presented with her award by ACJS President Prabha Unnithan of Colorado State University
Winning poster
Winning poster. Click here for pdf version





Poster prize runners up Sophie Mitchell and Miriam Shovel are congratulated by ACJS President Prabha Unnithan of Colorado State University.


More coming soon … please come back for updates


Lincoln TeamFinally … Thank you Lincoln: you were amazing. Please watch the below video and see if you can spot yourself!