About AnthroCrime

The EASA Anthropology of Crime and Criminalisation network (AnthroCrime) aims to place the study of crime, criminalisation and decriminalisation at the heart of critical anthropological inquiry. Current socio-political transformations, such as shifting geopolitical configurations, rising neo-nationalist tendencies, and (cyber)technological developments, push crime to the centre of public debate and to the heart of governmental power.

At a time when governmental and grass-roots organisations seek to boost their sovereignty by flexing their muscles towards those defined as criminals, it becomes increasingly pertinent to analyse criminalisation processes. Contemporary anthropological approaches offer critical reflections that can aid the development of the anthropology of crime and criminalisation just as a network of anthropologists that study crime and criminalisation should help to maintain and develop critical anthropology. Concretely, we envision a network that analyses:

  • criminalisation as a dynamic socio-political process at the service of different actors including state apparatuses
  • crime, criminalisation and decriminalisation as part of global, spatial, historical, individual and collective processes, through the construction of practices and discourses
  • possible decentralisation of the law and the state in our explorations of crime (for instance by emphasising the concept of social harm as an alternative)
  • crime not only as a domain of subordinate groups or youth but as an entrepreneurial force of the powerful, focusing on global organisations and its interconnections with public and private actors
  • crime and criminalisation in light of new contemporary technologies, such as information technology and global surveillance
  • how crime, criminalisation and decriminalisation are indicative of our social relations (e.g. with migrants, LGBT groups, etc.) and of the organisation of our society (as evident, for example, from the ongoing decriminalisation processes against certain psychoactive substances)
  • besides violence and its embodiment, the socially productive aspects of crime and criminalisation: the emergence and reinvention of material and symbolic realms, of moral codes and social norms within particular social groups, of imaginaries about the figure of the criminal, in popular culture and media

The network intends to provide a platform for anthropological contributions on crime and (de)criminalisation at a European level while remaining open to dialogues with scholars from other parts of the world and with scholars from adjacent disciplines (e.g. criminology, law and political science).

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