International criminology

Qualitative research on polluted actors

Authored by: Martha K. Huggins

Routledge Handbook of International Criminology

Print publication date:  April  2011
Online publication date:  May  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415779098
eBook ISBN: 9780203864708
Adobe ISBN: 9781135193850


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In studying Brazil for over three decades, I have observed several things about United States academic positivist quantitative criminology that differentiate it from my own qualitative research conducted from a critical criminology 1 perspective. Positivist quantitative research in the United States is US centric, whereas I study deviance and crime in Brazil and in other “foreign” States. United States positivist quantitative criminology focuses on legally defined “criminality,” while critical criminology examines conditions often not even defined as “criminal.” As such they are not usually treated as illegal by State agents. Most United States positivist criminological research focuses on crimes of the powerless, using official criminal justice system data – what Alexander Liazos (1972) called a “Nuts, Sluts, and Preverts” approach to social problems. Those in the critical criminology tradition focus most on State crimes and associated actors; further rendering criminal justice system data unreliable.

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