Latin American Critical Criminology

Authored by: Alfredo Schulte-Bockholt

Routledge Handbook of Critical Criminology

Print publication date:  October  2011
Online publication date:  October  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415779678
eBook ISBN: 9780203864326
Adobe ISBN: 9781135192808


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The study of crime in the global South has, at least until recently, received relatively little attention in the developed world, particularly North America. Clinard and Abbot (1973) have already lamented the failure of criminologists and development scholars alike to address crime. According to Shelley (1981), development scholars ignored crime while criminologists showed little interest in development. Sumner (1982) noted that “western criminological theory is virtually silent” on the topic, while scholars from International Development Studies (IDS) likewise neglected the subject of crime (p. 1). More recently, Leggett (2001) noted:

Historically, with a few notable exceptions, the disciplines of criminology and development studies have had very few areas of convergence … It is only with the recent occurrence of major crime problems in Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa that an area of common concern has emerged.

(p. 141) These observations ignore the existence of a criminological tradition that has sprung up in the developing world but which has hardly been registered by scholars in North America, namely the New Latin American criminology or Latin American critical criminology. This literature was excluded from the official discourse not only because the authorship was in Spanish or Portuguese, but also because it contradicted the paradigms produced in the hegemonic North. Representatives of the New Latin American criminology published on numerous topics including crime prevention, drugs and drug policy, ecological crime, gender and crime, indigenous and penal issues, political crime and corruption, policing, youth crime, and more. Latin American criminologists have created a diverse and rich literature, yet only fragments found their way into the English-speaking world (L. Aniyar de Castro, personal communication, University of Zulia, Maracaibo, Venezuela, October 27, 2007; Birkbeck, 1982, 1993; Del Olmo, 1975, 1982, 1999a; Elbert, 2004a; Encinoza Riera, 1979; Encinoza Riera & Del Olmo, 1981; Vega Vega, 1987).

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