Monday, September 21, 2015

New Position of Interest: U.C. Irvine!

In addition to the position advertised here, UC Irvine is advertising for a second position! They are looking for:
 an advanced Assistant or an early Associate Professor, who would contribute to our strength in the interdisciplinary field of criminology, in particular a scholar specializing in public policy. The ideal candidate will be a scholar whose work focuses on translational research—our ability to transform research findings into policies and to empirically evaluate the effectiveness of these policies. Successful candidates for this position will have an outstanding record of research, evidence of the ability to attract extramural funding, and evidence of excellent teaching and mentoring.  
To ensure your application is given full consideration, files should be completed by November 15, 2015. The position will begin July 1, 2016 (teaching duties to begin Fall 2016). Candidates must have a doctoral degree in a related field. Applications must be uploaded electronically. Applications will be accepted through the on-line Recruit system:  
Candidates should submit a letter of interest, a curriculum vitae, statement of research and teaching interests, representative publications, and arrange to have three letters of recommendation uploaded electronically. Complete your application by also submitting a statement on previous and/or past contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion (e.g. mentoring activities, committee service, research and/or teaching activities). Please direct questions about this position to Professor George Tita at:
The full ad: 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

New article of interest!

I won't usually call out a single article, but punishment and society/law and society articles do not typically appear in the leading American criminology journal, so it's kind of a coup for our field. Johann Koehler's article, "Development and Fracture of a Discipline: Legacies of the School of Criminology at Berkeley," is now available on EarlyView at Criminology. Here is the abstract:
In the early twentieth century, the University of California—Berkeley opened its doors to police professionals for instruction in “police science.” This program ultimately developed into the full-fledged School of Criminology, whose graduates helped shape American criminology and criminal justice until well into the 1970s. Scholarship at the School of Criminology eventually fractured into three distinct traditions: “Administrative criminology” applied scientific methods in pursuit of refining law enforcement practices, “law and society” coupled legal scholarship with social scientific methods, and “radical criminology” combined Marxist critiques of the state with community activism. Those scientific traditions relied on competing epistemic premises and normative aspirations, and they drew legitimacy from different sources. Drawing on oral histories and archival data permits a neo-institutional analysis of how each of these criminological traditions emerged, acquired stability, and subsided. The Berkeley School of Criminology provides fertile ground to examine trends in the development of criminal justice as a profession, criminology as a discipline and its place in elite universities, the uncoupling of criminology from law and society scholarship, and criminal justice policy's disenchantment with the academy. These legacies highlight how the development of modern criminology and the professionalization of American law enforcement find precedent in events that originate at Berkeley.
This article gives a nice historical explanation for the divergence of critical criminology, punishment and society, and law and society (and what we might also call European criminology) from "traditional" or more technocratic criminology. It helps to explain what we might call the geo-politics of criminology departments' placement across American universities. It's also a sort of pre-history to UC Berkeley's Jurisprudence and Social Policy doctoral program and the Center for the Study of Law and Society. Finally, the article is qualitative, theoretical, and historical, and those are three things that are not often represented in criminology journals (though they are occasionally), which makes its appearance extra exciting.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Blog Series of Interest

Alessandro De Giorgi has been contributed a fantastic series entitled, "Reentry To Nothing" to the Social Justice Blog. Here is a brief overview of the project: 
The materials presented in this blog series draw from an ethnographic study on prisoner reentry I have been conducting between March 2011 and March 2014 in a neighborhood of West Oakland, California, which is plagued by chronically high levels of poverty, unemployment, homelessness, drug addiction, and street crime. Since 2011, with the agreement of a local community health clinic that provides free basic health care and other basic services to marginalized populations in the area, I have been conducting participant observation among several returning prisoners, mostly African American and Latino men between the ages of 25 and 50. In this series of blog entries, I will be presenting ethnographic snapshots of some of these men (and often their partners) as they struggle for survival after prison in a postindustrial ghetto. For more detailed information on this project, please read here. To read the previous entries, please follow these links: Get a Job, Any Job (#1), The Working Poor (#2), Home, Sweet Home (#3).
The latest entry, "In the Shadow of the Jailhouse," De Giorgi examines the relationship between the urban impoverished and local jails. This piece triggered thoughts about "sociological ambivalence"---the complicated relationship incarcerated people (and their families and neighbors) have with carceral institutions and policies of the kind discussed by Megan Comfort, Todd Clear, and others when discussing prisons. Prison, for these groups, has both positive and negative effects---mostly negative, but (surprisingly) some positive. However, De Giorgi is examining the role of local jails, which are increasingly taking a larger role in California's penal landscape following Realignment (2011). He's also focusing particularly on the way in which, in our post-welfare society, one of the largest providers of services to the poor are jails. 
In the following notes I document how, despite the abysmal levels of neglect and abuse characterizing these institutions—particularly in terms of the physical and mental health of their guests—jails have come to represent one of the few residual forms of “public relief” from the sheer destitution the poor experience in the postindustrial ghetto, often representing their only chance to gain access to food, shelter, and sporadic healthcare. Of course, this is not to suggest that prisons should continue to offer their “services” to the urban poor; however, we should wonder whether the hands-off approach currently advocated by reformers and presidential candidates across the political spectrum represents nothing more than the latest chapter in a long history of public retrenchment from the ghetto and malign neglect toward racialized urban poverty.
His post offers one of the more jarring accounts of sociological ambivalence. The post discusses a morning when Alessandro is driving Rico to Marin County to pick up his girlfriend, Naira, from the Marin County Jail. On the way over, Rico tells Alessandro that he expects Naira to look better than she had, to be healthier after her stint in jail because she'll have been fed, have had time to sober up, sleep, and get her head right. On the way back to the East Bay, Naira tells Rico and Alessandro of her time in the jail, especially of the long delay before the people are giving their medications and the many people with serious mental illnesses and the various forms of decompensation they experience. With a healthy dose of irony, the post closes with the group running into a friend of Rico and Naira's; the friend "tells Rico that Naira looks much healthier after her period in jail. As she lights his cigarette, he comments, 'You look good, Naira! You really needed it, uh?'" Despite the terrible the jail conditions, they are still better than some of the conditions Naira faced on the outside. 

The other posts are also worth checking out: 

Keep them coming, Alessandro, and keep up the great work!