Gone South: Thinking about Crime and its Control in the Greater China Region

‘Gone South: Thinking about Crime and its Control in the Greater China Region’.
Professor Karen Laidler, Department of Sociology, University of Hong Kong
Thursday 9 March 2017, 4-5.30pm in the Boardroom (Room 139), 29 Bute Gardens

The study of crime and its control in Asia, particularly in the Greater China region has generated increasing interest and research among scholars (criminologists and area specialists), NGOs, and government bodies. This is due, in part, to the emergent social issues and problems arising from the rapid and phenomenal growth and presence of the region in the global economy, global consumption, large scale internal migration in China. Yet the theoretical and methodological tools adopted to study crime and control in Greater China have largely been “imported” from the Northern paradigm. This paper takes up the challenge by recent critical criminologists to look from within the periphery, and reflects on the development of criminology in Greater China, but particularly Hong Kong. I first look at the structural and colonial forces at play and the “Northern factors” in the shaping of what has emerged as a distinct type of administrative criminology (differing from that of the North), and how this has shaped the ways in which research and policy questions are raised, projects funded, and influenced public policy. I then turn our thinking on its head to ask, what lessons can the North learn from the South, by drawing from several research projects. The paper concludes with some reflections on moving South in theorizing about crime and its control.

Karen Joe Laidler is a Professor of Sociology and Director of the Centre for Criminology at the University of Hong Kong. Her research focuses on drugs, sex work, youth gangs, and women’s imprisonment. As a native San Franciscan, she has been involved in criminological research since the 1980s, working with non-profit organizations and government agencies in Northern California. She moved to Hong Kong in the 1990s, and has witnessed the development of the city’s drug market over the past two decades. Her recent projects include a study on how young people obtain their drugs, drug use and risks among young gay men, and parallel trading between Hong Kong and mainland China, and its implications for identity.

This seminar is co-organised by the Scottish Centre for China Research and the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research.

All welcome!

The Scottish Centre for China Research Seminar Programme gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Macfie Bequest.
For enquiries and information, please contact Prof Jane Duckett (Jane.Duckett@Glagsow.ac.uk)