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.
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: