Societies, Vol. 5, Pages 618-630: On Imaginative Criminology and Its Significance

Research paper by Jon Frauley

Indexed on: 13 May '16Published on: 24 Aug '15Published in: Societies (Basel, Switzerland)


In growing numbers criminologists are discovering the value of imaginative and creative approaches for enquiry. There is now a critical mass of criminological work that engages substantively and theoretically with cultural artefacts such as film, fiction, music, dance, art, photography and cultural institutions. In doing so these works highlight criminology’s persistent epistemological and methodological weaknesses. The broad and fragmented “imaginative criminology” movement offers a challenge to an orthodox criminology that is guided by the coercive and constraining bureaucratic categories of criminal justice administration and the criminal law. Imaginative criminology displaces these as the governing categories of criminological thought and practice. Drawing on the work of Pierre Bourdieu, Louis Althusser, and C. Wright Mills this paper considers the movement’s epistemological significance and the challenge posed to criminological orthodoxy.