BSC Annual Conference

A ‘Mirror’ or a ‘Motor’? What is Criminology for?Criminology as an academic discipline has undergone significant and rapid development in recent years. There has been a major expansion in the number of institutions offering courses in the field, accompanied by large increases in the numbers of undergraduate and graduate students engaged in studying core criminological topics and subjects allied to them. Alongside this growth, the presence and reputation of Criminology both within the academy and outside of it has been significantly enhanced. Criminological research is increasingly located at the forefront of advances in social theory and methodology, and criminologists are engaged in advising and researching a wide variety of social problems that confront practitioners and policy-makers in the Criminal Justice System and beyond. The current state of Criminology is thus, in many ways, a success story. But as is well known, success brings its own problems. Given the increasing significance and reputation that it has built, it seems appropriate to ask what is the public role envisaged for Criminology now and in the future?

The title of the conference has been chosen to address the question outlined above, challenging participants to think about their criminological practice and the intentions that underpin the knowledge that they produce through their work. Do they conceive of their role as providing a ‘mirror’ to social reality that seeks to reflect as accurately as possible the conditions that are encountered in the contemporary social order? Alternatively, can and should criminologists adopt a more applied stance, wherein the knowledge generated through criminological research is conceived as a ‘motor’ of social change to advance key values of justice and security?

Conference Streams:Coherent with the overarching theme of the conference, the substantive content of the meeting will be organized around the following 10 key themes.

Public criminology and criminology’s Publics; Community safety, regulation and governance; Serious and organised crime; Policing change and changing policing; Punishment, rehabilitation and social control; Young people, crime and justice; Alcohol, drugs and crime; Structures and processes in criminal justice; Representations and technologies of crime and crime control; Violent and property crime.The selection of these themes has been designed to showcase the rich diversity of work that is undertaken by Criminologists whilst ensuring that overall the conference is organized around a coherent orienting idea. For these streams, in keeping with established practice, delegates are encouraged to submit fully formed panels for inclusion within the programme, as well as individual papers. No session will have more than three papers within it, presenters are encouraged to share their papers prior to the conference with the session’s chair and/or respondent in an effort to ensure high standards.

As well as the standard sessions the conference programme will incorporate a number of other tried and tested formats, including:

Plenary sessions – one opening the conference, one at a mid-point and one prior to the end of the conference; Author-meets-reader sessions; Workshops – offering a more interactive and ‘hands-on’ experience for participants, possibly looking at a particular dataset, method, or piece of software; Poster presentations.For further information see